The course of this second volume of selections from the Hawaii is set in its opening moments: the sounds of the ocean, a conch horn and a chant which then give way to a powerful pop song. This album reaches from the early days to modern times in its quest to present a variety of facets of Hawaiian music.
Including such performers as Gabby Pahinui, Jay Larrin, Dennis Pavao and Robi Kahakalau, there is probably something here for everyone. And this appeal comes as no surprise as the album partly grew out of requests on the Aloha Joe programs (Aloha Radio Network on the Internet). For many years, Aloha Joe has been one of the main persons behind the promotion of music from Hawaii through his web site and shows. This collection is a logical 'marriage' with Cord International/Hana Ola Records, which is devoted to the reissue of Hawaiian music from days gone by to the present.
The beauty of a sampler is exactly that - it offers examples of different artists' work. The Sand and the Sea by Peter Moon features the singing of Pauline Wilson; the lazy guitar, the perfect voice, the switch from English to Hawaiian, the dreamy arrangement, all these come together to transport the listener. And later, Moe Keale (of Hawaii 5-0 fame) adds a gentle touch, his husky warm vocal accompanied by guitar and ukulele, with a romantic ballad. The album is full of contrasts.
Jazz influences are shown on a number of tracks such Peter Moon's, On A Little Street in Singapore (second of his three appearances on the album), Teresa Bright's offering and especially with Gabby Pahinui on How D'Ya Do where he forsakes his usual slack key guitar to pick up a steel.
From chant to traditional to contemporary, the second volume reflects much of the development of Hawaiian music. For my personal tastes, powerful commercial songs are perhaps a little over represented, but this is more than made up for with such gems as the falsetto singing of Dennis Pavao, the pure emotion of George Helm, and Melveen Leed's bilingual interpretation of Crazy.
Aloha Joe also turned to his listeners for suggestions when compiling the collection. He has successfully pieced together a 21-track, 73-minute-long album of disparate sounds and styles. And as you find your favorites, there are enough details in the short liner notes to direct you to the original recordings and more information on the performers.
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