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Island Mele
Friday, March 10, 2000

By John Berger


Appealing reggae
from Palau


BulletSweet Luv:
By Virian Kanai (PolyRiddim - PRR 1001)

REGGAE music has reached the Micronesian nation of Palau and one result is this memorable album by Palauan Virian Kanai. It's her first American production and a promising debut here. All of the songs are originals.

Kanai writes in English and Palauan, and sometimes uses English words for emphasis when writing in Palauan. Caribbean rhythms dominate but she also writes smooth light pop. Kanai's commercially appealing voice adds to the impact of the arrangements.

Unfortunately, Kanai and producer Brett Fovargue provide translations for only one of her Palauan songs. Omitting information on the others makes her Hawaii debut album less effective than it could have been. -

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Sweet Luv
Bullet Kinky Games
Bullet No Good
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info



BulletHerb Ohta Meets Pete Jolly:
By Herb Ohta and Pete Jolly (M & H Hawaii - MHCD1621)

HERB Ohta's latest project finds him fronting a jazz quartet with pianist Pete Jolly. Producer Michiko Urata provides no information on Jolly but he holds his own opposite Ohta, Jess Gopen (drums), and Bruce Hamada (bass); Lyle Ritz replaces Hamada on two songs. Gabe Baltazar guests on three.

Ohta again demonstrates the versatility of the ukulele in nontraditional contexts. This time it's mainstream jazz standards. The interplay between Ohta and Jolly is the theme, but extended arrangements allow the other musicians to shine as well.

M&H Hawaii, P.O. Box 304, Honolulu, HI 96813

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Poor Butterfly
Bullet In A Mellow Tone
Bullet Jeanie
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info



BulletThe Uncle In Me:
By Willie K (Mountain Apple Co. - MACD 2065)

WILLIE K became an instant hit with local music lovers in 1991. His debut album, "Kahaiali'i," won four Hoku Awards in 1992.

The cover art and liner notes of this album don't clearly explain this but this album consists of digitally re-mastered versions of great songs he recorded for other labels.

Lack of annotation on the history and significance of the selections keep this from being the definitive Willie K anthology but the breadth of his repertoire -- Hawaiian, Jawaiian, pop, rock and more -- is well displayed.

From "You Ku'uipo" through "Love and Desire" and "Appleberry Hill," this is a wonderfully diverse musical experience.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet You Ku'uipo
Bullet Spirits In The Wind
Bullet Love And Desire
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

See Record Reviews for some 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 Today
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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