Island Mele

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, January 22, 1999

Whale songs
set in striking

Whale Cry of the Ocean: Lisa Leung and Pierre Grill (RVR)

PIERRE Grill has long been known as the studio engineer new acts turn to when help is needed on a recording project. He'll help work out arrangements, play piano, and synthesize just about any other instrumental effect imaginable. Once in a while he does something for himself. This collaboration with Lisa Leung is one of those projects. Pacific humpback whales from the waters of Hawaii and Australia are the "vocalists."

Leung and Grill incorporate melodies from several cultures. Her violin and his piano and synthesizers mesh with the whales' songs in striking and memorable ways. The music is enhanced by information on the genesis of the songs and an overview of how and why the whales sing and why we should care (Partial proceeds benefit Pacific Whale Foundation. Call 1-(800)-942-5311).

Kohala: Kohala (Palm)

GUITARISTS Charlie Recaido, Kevin Teves and Charles Michael Brotman make up the Big Island trio Kohala. Brotman's background is in classical guitar; Honolulu residents will remember him as a soloist at the old Kahala Hilton. Recaido's credits go back to his days as a member of Summer at Toppe Ada Shoppe more than 20 years ago.

Their repertoire here consists of local classics redone in a fresh and elegant acoustic instrumental style. Most are from the '70s and '80s. They include songs by Malani Bilyeu, Kapono Beamer, Mackey Feary, Cecilio Rodriguez, Henry Kapono and Keola Beamer.

Brotman is heard front-and-center as the lead guitarist, with Recaido on the left and Teves to the right. The balance makes "Kohala" great listening on headphones, but these carefully crafted arrangements are a best bet for any situation that calls for soothing romantic music. Call this exquisite!

Footprints:"P.J." (Surfside)

TOO much locally recorded contemporary Christian music is simply earnest testament set to elevator music. All songs of faith must surely please the Lord, but memorable melodies and strong arrangements can help share the Word with others. P.J. Malin accomplishes this with his impressive debut album.

Malin's lyrics describe a wide range of Christian experiences -- joy, faith, doubt, loss, hope. Credit Nathan Aweau with creating the imaginative Christian-rock arrangements that give these songs depth and substance beyond their religious message. Aweau's skill and the blending of live and synthetic instruments add further to the impact of Malin's musical ministry.

Aweau and Malin work well together in creating a big, varied sound. There's a unity here but the songs don't sound like variations on a single musical idea.

See Record Reviews for some of John Berger's past reviews.
See Aloha Worldwide for locals living away.

John Berger, who has covered the local
entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings
produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Home Zone
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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