Island Mele
Friday, January 25, 2002

By John Berger



"On the Beach"

Marty Dread
Five Corners Music

Maui resident Marty Dread is one of Hawaii's most versatile Jawaiian/"island music" artists. On this 16-song album he does everything from Jawaiian remakes to original Rastafarian roots reggae hymns. It's an impressive collection.

The title track is the obvious radio hit because it combines a catchy beat and faux-Jamaican accents in a stirring salute to Hawaiian water sports and ocean heroes. Guest work by Fiji and O-Shen gives "Going Back to Tahiti" strong radio appeal as well.

Dread got Phil Vasser's "Just Another Day in Paradise" off the national country charts and gives it a routine reggae-beat recycling. "Mahalo & Praise" is more noteworthy because it honors Almighty Jah in Hawaiian and English; Hawaiian-language "island music" is rare indeed!

MP3 Audio Clips:
Bullet On The Beach
Bullet Going Back To Tahiti
Bullet Another Day In Paradise
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info




Keola Beamer
Dancing Cat

Keola Beamer's fifth album for George Winston's "Hawaiian Slack-Key Guitar Masters" series is perfect for students of the genre because it is 100 percent acoustic slack key.

Producer Winston is the second guitarist on one song; all the other multiguitar pieces are studio creations with Beamer accompanying himself with various tunings and using either steel or nylon strings.

The album also displays his insights as an arranger with his interpretations of Hawaiian standards such as "Kaulana Na Pua."

Want to learn more? The album contains all the information a fan or student could ask for regarding Beamer's tunings, his background and the cultural importance of slack key.

MP3 Audio Clips:
Bullet Kaulana Na Pua
Bullet Kawohikukapulani
Bullet Pua Lililehua
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info



"Shores Of Waiehu"

Tsunami Records West

On first impression, Ekolu's second album finds the group still mired in a basic pseudo-reggae sound that includes clichéd lyrics and Jamaican-wannabe accents. If the title track doesn't get the group onto "island music" radio, a rehash of "It's Now or Never" will.

A closer listen proves Ekolu is more than just another Jawaiian act. The group recorded as a octet consisting of Lukela Keala, Shane "Akoni" Dellomes and Makapu Hoopii, plus studio musicians. Keala is the lead vocalist and primary composer. He writes with feeling about longing for a special girl ("Just One Night" and "If I Was Your Man"). Dellomes' "Jus Wasn't There" is a moody apology for not being honest with a sexually available woman on the shores of Waiehu.

Ekolu steps beyond Jawaiian music with a soulful original spiritual ("Come Home to God"). "Tia" and "Tia (Remix)" show Ekolu's promise with urban-style harmonies.

MP3 Audio Clips:
Bullet Shore of Waiehu
Bullet Jus Wasn't There
Bullet Come Back To God
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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