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Island Mele
Friday, September 15, 2000

By John Berger



falsetto anthology

Bullet Aloha Festivals Hawaiian Falsetto Contest Winners:
By various (Hula CDHS-613)

THE Aloha Festival officially starts on Oahu today and that makes it timely to look at this anthology of recordings by the winners of the two falsetto contests affiliated with the statewide Aloha Festivals program. Four are recent winners of the Clyde "Kindy" Sproat Storytelling and Falsetto Singing Contest -- William "Billy" Gilman (1996), Kamakele "Bula" Ka'iliwai (1997), Saichi Kawahara (1998) and Stan Priddy (1999). The Frank B. Shaner Hawaiian Falsetto Contest is represented by Kichizo Matsutani (1997) and Chauncy Bermodez (1999).

The performances are beautiful. Detailed annotation and excellent packaging adds to making this a near perfect introduction to Hawaiian falsetto. The artists' biographical information includes the names of the artists who inspired them. The international popularity of the genre is seen in the fact that Matsutani is a Japanese national and largely self-taught. The liner notes lack mention of the meaning or significance of the songs but this is otherwise far superior to most local contest winner recording projects.

Count this album as a showcase for William "Baba" Alimoot as well. While not a contest winner, Alimoot worked on the project as a co-producer, backing musician, backing vocalist, and musical arranger of all but two of the songs. He then closed the album as lead vocalist on the final song.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet I Ali'i No 'Oe
Performed by Chauncey Bermodez
Bullet Kamalani O Keaukaha
Performed by Kichizo Matsutani
Bullet My Lovely Flower
Performed by Stan Priddy
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info



Bullet My Sunshine Hawaii:
By Josiah Mataele (Taele Si'i )

TIME was when no Waikiki bar or restaurant was complete without a singer. Most accompanied themselves on guitar; some also used a metronome-like "beat box" or a few simple synthesizer tracks on cassettes. The most enterprising saved up enough to record self-produced albums for sale to visitors as a unique musical souvenir. Josiah Mataele evokes that tradition here with Pierre "Petelo" Grill adding a diverse assortment of basic synthetic effects.

The twelve songs are all originals. Most offer expository accounts of Mataele's life in Waikiki. "By The Light House, By Diamond Head" recalls his "crazy" Waikiki life and times back in 1973. Most of the other songs celebrate contemporary locales; the management of Aloha Tower Marketplace should grab "Meet Me Tonight At Aloha Tower" and extract the jingle within it as an advertising campaign theme immediately.

Mataele and Grill use a variety of arrangements and thus avoid the risk of making each tune sound like the others. All in all, this is a fine memento for visitors who have enjoyed Mataele's music during their stay here.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Get Native With Me Tonight
Bullet By The Light House, By Diamond Head
Bullet She's My Polynesian Lady
Quicktime | RealPlayer | 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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