Island Mele

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, March 5, 1999

Alapaki’s album
strikes romantic chord


Hawaiian Paradise Alapaki (Alapaki)

MAUI resident Alapaki evokes memories of Alfred Apaka and Danny Kaleikini with his album of Hawaiian and hapa-haole standards. Not that he's a clone or impressionist, but he sings with a romantic ambience that will please fans of the genre.

The songs include classics by Lena Machado, Harry Owens, R. Alex Anderson, Don McDiarmid, and Charles E. King. Henry Kapono's "Pretty Face" is more modern but fits in smoothly. Alapaki and producer Sam Ahia keep the modern synthetics unobtrusive and do good work throughout.


The Singing Cab Driver Myrtle K. Hilo (Lehua)

MYRTLE K. Hilo's 1967 debut album is now a welcome rerelease. Her bilingual version of "I'll Remember You" and sassy take on "Ma'ane'i Mai Oe" are two of the most notable selections. Overall this is an inviting introduction of the grassroots Hawaiian music of the 1960s.

Unfortunately, no effort was made to update the annotation. For instance, what has Hilo done since 1967? How long has it been since "Hawaii's highest rated Hawaiian music program" was heard on KHVH? Keep Ed Michaelman's original liner notes, but Hilo's fans and malihini disc buyers alike deserve additional information.


My Eyes Adore You Justin (Neos Productions)

JUSTIN Kawika Young's third album finds him still mulling a dilemma. Should he stick to the synthetic pop lite sound that has made him a local teen heartthrob, or work toward something with national potential? It's hard to fault him for playing it safe and aiming songs at the callow local pop market.

Young's originals show his versatility and are consistently more interesting than the remakes. On "E Kailua E" his falsetto singing isn't posturing or posing. "Let Me Take Tonight" shows the impact of live instruments as "Pure Heart" underscores the urgency suggested in his lyrics. "Was It Loneliness" confirms that soft multi-tracked pop ballads are still his strength, but "Windward Side" shows he can write and record more vital music too.

On the other hand, bland remakes will get local radio play when imaginative originals are ignored.

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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