With the highly anticipated launch of Hokule`a and Hikianalia from Hilo tomorrow, I thought it appropriate that I discuss some of my favorite mele about sailing and navigation. With the prevalence of interest in Polynesian navigation and wa`a I am surprised that there isn't more music centered around this topic. While these concepts are deeply imbedded … Continue reading Hōkūle`a, Star of Gladness
Another year of Na Hoku Hanohano awards has come and gone and as usual, surprises, disappointments and approvals are in order. First of all I am well aware that I exist well beyond the confines of these awards and my views and opinions on them probably fall outside the norm. I think it is great that … Continue reading Na Hoku Hanohano What?
Besides an impressive lineage of instrumentalists, composers and dancers of hula, Hawai`i boasts an even more astounding history of world class male vocalists. Their heyday was found in the lounges and luau shows of Waikiki in the 1950s and 1960s. Some of the more noteworthy are Alfred Alpaka, Bill Lincoln and Gary Aiko. Before the … Continue reading A Great Voice of Hawai`i Rediscovered
The Hawaiian music recording industry is a funny beast. While there have been times of active recording and large scale album production, there have also been periods of big lulls. I would like to focus on one particular time period in which the Hawaiian music recording industry was not as strong, but produced some amazing … Continue reading Under the Radar
Here is a continuation of my analysis of the great `ukulele album "Heart of the `Ukulele." For an introduction please see my post titled "Heart of the `Ukulele" part 1. The first analysis covered Side A which was comprised of a mixture of American standards, Latin folk songs, string symphonies and a popular movie score. Here on … Continue reading Heart of the Ukulele Part 2
To my ears and soul this is the greatest `ukulele album ever made. Creative, emotional and technically challenging, in under thirty minutes Eddie Kamae expresses all the musical voices possible on the `ukulele. The song choice is inventive and daring and while the recording is raw and unembellished, the complex musicality is diverse in scope and execution. … Continue reading Heart of the Ukulele Part 1
When you grow up in the Big Island the big city is in Hilo. And having spent my whole life on the west side, I still get lost over there and I still find places in parts of town I never knew existed. During the time I spent playing music with Braddah Smitty I … Continue reading Talking Story With Jesse Kalima’s Nephew
I only met Chino once, but he left a lasting impression on me. A few years back I went by the Kahilu Theatre to check out the free show during the Slack Key and Ukulele Institute series. I had seen the name "Chino Montero" on the bill, but wasn't familiar with him or his music. What I saw that night blew me away. The way he shredded on the guitar in such a relaxed and humble manner was shocking to my eyes and ears. The way he tastefully and artfully completely ran circles around the melody put me in awe....
One of the most innovative and accomplished musicians in Hawaiian music history is Ledward Ka`apana. Starting with the group Hui Ohana in 1972, Uncle Led set a new standard for what sounds were possible within the realm of Hawaiian music. His electric guitar playing with added reverb was new and exciting. He was never afraid to push the boundaries, or HO`ANALU, of what was being done with slack key guitar....
I humbly believe that the greatest ukulele player ever was Eddie Kamae. He recorded what I find to be the best ukulele album in existence "Heart of the Ukulele" in 1962. I was very blessed to have the opportunity to share the stage with and play with Eddie Kamae when I played ukulele for Bruddah Smitty.