Island Mele


POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2008

”;The Gift”;

Rose Baraquio
(Harman Entertainment)

; Just when it seems that there are no more surprises as far as local Christmas albums are concerned, along come Rose Baraquio and arranger Danny McIntyre with, as Monty Python might have put it, “;something completely different.”; Imagine, for example, “;Little Drummer Boy”; reworked as a straight rock song in which drummer Stu Sherman is no more prominent than any of the other musicians. That's how Baraquio and McIntyre introduce themselves.

McIntyre uses a lightly swinging jazz vibe as the vehicle for Baraquio's take on “;What Child Is This.”; He then lets the other musicians take a break as he and Baraquio present “;God Rest Ye Weary Gentlemen”; as an introspective duet for voice and keyboards.

McIntyre's foot-tapping arrangement of Mel Torme's ever-popular “;Christmas Song”; gives that standard a fresh feel, while his alt-rock interpretation of “;Blue Christmas”; owes nothing to Elvis Presley's classic 1958-vintage version. Baraquio sounds much “;bluer”; than Elvis.

The final highlight of this creative collaboration is a rendition of “;Carol Of the Bells”; that sounds like Baraquio is about to go wild hearing all those endlessly ding-dong-dinging bells!

;» ”;Little Drummer Boy”;
;» ”;What Child Is This”;
;» ”;Blue Christmas”;


”;Pat Rocco Sings 'Christmas in Hawaii'”;

Pat Rocco

; Pat Rocco is at heart a balladeer whose repertoire is rooted in the classic American pop that ruled the charts before the Rock Revolution of the 1950s. Rocco's talents as a vocalist and song stylist have exceeded his resources as a recording artist and record producer on some of his previous albums—meaning, the intention has always been there, but the budget has sometimes been lacking—but he takes several steps forward with this one. The instrumental tracks have substance, and with keyboardist Karl Kasberg as his arranger, Rocco has the creative support his talent and enthusiasm deserves.

For instance, “;We Need A Little Christmas”; is a bright snapshot of another era. “;Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”; and “;The Secret of Christmas”; showcase of Rocco's skill at singing the emotion in a song rather than just the words.

“;Localizing”; songs by changing the lyrics is always risky, but Rocco's additions to “;Sleigh Ride”; and “;It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”; are charming. “;Steal A Christmas Kiss”; adds a romantic original to the collection.

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;» ”;Christmas Dreaming”;
;» ”;Steal A Christmas Kiss”;
;» ”;We Need A Little Christmas”;


”;Aloha Kaimu”;

G-Girl Keli'iho'omalu

; Michael Cord has been known for almost 20 years for his state-of-the-art reissues of out-of-print Hawaiian and hapa-haole recordings by extinct local record labels—49th State Hawaii and Bell, to name a couple. Cord brings back a different type of Hawaiian music with this remastered reissue of modern classic, first released by Big Island record producer John “;Keoni”; Fujitani in 1990.

G-Girl and her family represented a rural style of Hawaiian music that Fujitani feared would soon be lost, and he captured much of it by having the group record together “;live”; in the studio. G-Girl was the primary vocalist, but Fujitani made sure to get her husband and sons on tape as well. Some selections are family songs, written for family members or about special places. Others are Hawaiian standards. All will be welcomed by purists in search of traditional grass roots Hawaiian music.

;» ”;E Mililani 'O Iohova”;
;» ”;Aloha Kaimu”;
;» ”;Ku'u Pua Kilihune”;

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