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Island Mele
Friday, October 27, 2000

By John Berger



Lively album
from Crazy Fingers

Bullet Legalize Happiness: By Crazy Fingers (Crazy Fingers CFM777)

JUST when it seems Hawaii's island music scene is being drowned in vapid remakes and pseudo-rasta posing along comes Crazy Fingers. The Maui-based band uses uncredited interpolations of "Puff The Magic Dragon," "Let The Sunshine In" and "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" as radio-friendly riffs but there are no outright remakes. Every song qualifies as an original. Each is well worked out.

Other cuts endorse ecological awareness and the joys of growing and using marijuana. Jamaican rhythms generally provide the beat, but the band adroitly plays rock, ska, punk, pop and African-American rap as well. With the imaginative lyrics and mostly positive themes, this album is strong in all areas.


Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Puff
Bullet Jah People
Bullet Haleakala (Live)
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info

Bullet Kukuna Mehana: By Ray Sowders (Ki Ho'alu Dreams RS1000)

AN intangible acoustic folk ambience adds a distinctive aura to this beautiful debut album by singer/slack key guitarist Ray Sowders. His producers maintain the concept with a string quartet and guest work by Ozzie Kotani (Sowders is a former Kotani student).

Sowders sings all but three songs in Hawaiian. They include three by Puakea Nogelmeier and one from Diana Aki. A slack-key medley and two English-language songs add variety. Detailed annotation adds the lyrics, English translations and Sowders' feelings about each song to this excellent musical portrait.


Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Pua 'A'ala
Bullet Sun Lite Moon Lite
Bullet Ho'olako me ka Hanohano
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info

Bullet Hula Gems: By Aloha Pumehana Serenaders (Poki SPCD 9013)

THE first of two albums recorded in the mid-1970s by Darrell Lupenui is now available on CD. Originally intended for use by hula students, it is a timeless collection that now includes three new tracks by kumu hula Chinky Mahoe (Mahoe, a student of Lupenui's who has since won fame as the innovative master of his own halau, also contributed to the research for this project).

English translations aren't provided but Lea A. Uehara completes the package with information on each selection, the history of the original album and Lupenui's role in the modern rebirth and evolution of male hula.

Tropical Music Inc., P.O. Box 1494, Honolulu, HI 96806

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Kawika
Bullet I Ali'i No 'Oe
Bullet Beautiful Kaua'i
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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