Island Mele


POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009

”;Napo'ona Mahina: The Illusion of Reality”;

Aaron J. Sala

; Aaron J. Sala builds on the artistic success of his Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning debut album with its long-awaited follow-up. Sala has assembled a collection of 12 songs—almost of them Hawaiian, some old, others contemporary—that together can form the chapters of an enigmatic story. Or, conversely, they can be enjoyed for nothing more than the beauty of the music and Sala's voice.

Two jump out due to their non-Hawaiian lyrics. “;Sophisticated Hula”; is given a modern jazzy ambience with Steve Jones' solo on acoustic bass. “;Non T'amo Piu,”; sung in Italian, displays his training as a bel canto vocalist.

Sala has a rare knack for combining Western classical music traditions with those of Hawaiian music. He does that with several selections. On others he keeps to the basics—his voice and a piano are all he needs.

Sala completes this Grammy Award-worthy album with a liner notes booklet that makes everything easily accessible for the mainstream audience.

;» ”;Sweet Moonlight”;
;» ”;Sophisticated Hula”;
;» ”;Non T'Amo Piu”;

”;Come What May”;

Candes Meijide Gentry

; Candes Meijide Gentry teamed up with producer Pierre Grill and her long time vocal mentor, Larry Paxton, to record this collection of American pop standards. It was first released as a memento for guests at her pre-wedding party in November, but with a bar code on the back cover it is also available for conventional sale.

Gentry and Grill do a beautiful job. Gentry sings these standards with skill and sincerity. Grill's arrangements are uncluttered and use a piano as the primary instrument. Joey Caldarone, another long time friend, joins Gentry for a stirring rendition of the title song.

Gentry introduces “;Letting Go”; with a dedication to her family—who would be “;letting go”; on her wedding day. Friends of the couple will recognize an ad lib reference to her husband in “;It's Delovely.”;


;» ”;They Can't Take That Away From Me”;
;» ”;It's Delovely”;
;» ”;I've Got You Under My Skin”;

”;Overdrive Live Volume 4”;

Various artists
(The Place to Be Productions)

; David “;Davey D”; Daniel's, apostrophe and all, has been a pioneer in encouraging Hawaii recording acts to also make music videos—first by hosting his “;Overdrive Live”; cable television show, and next by releasing a series of compilations. “;Volume 4”; contains 18 videos by 15 Jawaiian acts. Some are basic performance videos in which the artists either play their instruments or just sing to the camera. Others are more elaborate.

“;Beautiful Ladies”; by the Opihi Pickers is a fanciful tale about a pair of magic sunglasses that cause the wearer to see everyone—male as well as female—as a “;beautiful lady.”; A computer-generated butterfly enhances “;Necta,”; Sashamon's wistful story of a man and the woman he longs for.

Na Wai's “;Oh Boy”; is a video-within-a-video in which two fans watch the latest Na Wai video—and manage to mention (at least three times) the online site where the song can be downloaded for 99 cents.

Required: To listen to MP3 audio clips, a music player must be installed on your computer. We recommend using either Apple iTunes (Mac), Yahoo! MusicMatch Jukebox (PC), or RealNetworks RealPlayer (PC/Mac), available for free from their respective web sites.