Island Mele

By John Berger




Pacific Blu
No label listing

Pacific Blu comes on as basic Jawaiians but also plays pop, rock and funk with support from studio musicians Michael Grande (keyboards) and Konrad Kendricks (drums). Of note here are new songs by band members Kawehi Kekauoha and Paul Yoshida. Yoshida is their sensitive balladeer; Kekauoha's reggae-beat "Surfer's Paradise" is a great piece of modern comic hapa-haole music.

The inevitable remakes include a smooth but routine take on Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and a tidy, ska-style look at "Everyday I Write The Book." The group stretches a bit by adding "Soulful Strut" to an otherwise generic rehash of Tierra's remake of the Intruders' hits, "Together" and "Cowboys To Girls."

Despite the prevalence of reggae rhythms and remakes, the title song calls on Hawaiians to retain their culture. It's the brightest gem here.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Stay With The Rhythm
Bullet Surfer's Paradise
Bullet Identity
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info



"Once Upon One Kapakahi time -- Original Soundtrack Recording"

Various artists
'Ohi'a Productions

Lisa Matsumoto's pidgin musicals have generated several albums' worth of material since her 1989 production at UH-Manoa. Cassettes have been available at shows, but 'Ohi'a Productions is now releasing CDs for sale in music stores. This, the latest title in the series and something of a greatest hits retrospective of four previous shows, is a great introduction to her work.

Matsumoto fans will find almost all the usual cast members reprising their big numbers from this summer's hit show. Individual song-by-song performance credits aren't provided but kids who saw it will have no problem filling in the faces. The producers' perennial reliance on synth-tracks make the instrumental numbers less interesting for home listening than the vocal numbers. But kids won't care about such audio issues and will certainly love reliving the show.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Dea's A Place
Bullet It's Good Fun Foa Be One Menehune
Bullet Pidgin 101
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info



"The Lolo Popolo"

Hutchi Boy-E

Hutch "Hutchi Boy-E" Hutchins was Hawaii's most prominent funkmaster in the early 1980s, and, as his music evolved, he took it into the recording studio as the head of SkrapYard Records. His latest release is a three-for-one compilation that introduces a new SkrapYard artist named Amy*K, several tracks from an all-instrumental "Hutchicise" album, and two from his upcoming Hutchi Boy-E album, "Almost Hawaiian."

The title song here is a comic contemporary song about a "lolo popolo from Palolo" and is certain to be a hit with young listeners. (New arrivals may not know that "popolo" is local slang for African-Americans, and presumably no more or less offensive than the use of "haole" as a catch-all term for Caucasians.) Hutchins, who is African-American, obviously doesn't think it offensive, and the song turns out to have a positive message.

Mpeg Audio Clips unavailable because disc is copy protected

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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