Island Mele

John Berger



"Some Call It Aloha ... Don't Tell"

Brothers Cazimero
The Mountain Apple Co.

Mountain Apple Company CEO Jon de Mello describes this new Brothers Cazimero album as "the finest suite of recorded music they have ever made," and the fact that his assessment is buried in the thick liner notes booklet rather than splashed across the back cover shows that he's not indulging in hype.

Cazimero fans can count on agreeing with him. This is a perfect showcase for Robert and Roland as a duo, as solo voices, and as songwriters.

Their falsetto harmonies have gotten so much acclaim that it's easy to forget that Bobby and Boze have beautiful lower-register voices, which can be heard here as well. A majority of the songs are originals, with Robert responsible for most, but the Brothers pay homage to the past with beautiful renditions of "Pua Lilia" and "He'eia."

They also revisit their Sunday Manoa days with "Hawaiian Rainbow."



"Find Harmony"

Na Leo
NLP Music

The title of Na Leo's newest album is in English but contains the multiple meanings often found in Hawaiian. For instance, vocal harmonies have been the foundation of the trio's sound for 20 years, and their harmony of personalities off-stage has been the key to their longevity.

Lastly,any one looking for smooth three-part harmony will find it here.

"In Your Smile" will likely be the first hit. Lehua Heine wrote it for her infant son, but lovers will find that it expresses their romantic inclinations as well. "Jungle Rain," a local favorite since the '60s, is a fine acknowledgment of their hapa-haole roots.

Na Leo has not always chosen well when doing pop remakes, but with Matt Catingub as arranger-producer, they've made a memorable reworking of "Blackbird" which showcases their strengths and merits national recognition.



"Hawaii of the Ukulele"

Eddie Kamae

Eddie Kamae has been known for so many years as the leader of the Sons of Hawaii, as well as for his award-winning Hawaiian documentaries, that it is sometimes forgotten that he also elevated the ukulele to a centerstage solo instrument more than 50 years ago.

This welcome reissue, first released in 1962, comes from near the end of his days playing non-Hawaiian music, but still places him before Ohta-san and all subsequent virtuosos. Anyone into the music of relative newcomers like Jake Shimabukuro and James Hill owes it to themselves to hear what Kamae was doing back in the day.

Kamae establishes his mastery of the ukulele and triumphs with a mixed bag of pop tunes and Hawaiian standards. Some of Clem Low's arrangements for the unidentified sidemen reflect the pop tastes of the day, but Kamae's work proves ageless.

See the Columnists section for some past reviews.

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. Contact John Berger at jberger@starbulletin.com.



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