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Keola & Kapono Beamer - Keola & Kapono Beamer

Keola & Kapono Beamer

Keola & Kapono Beamer

Cord International - HOCD - 84000

Available from Cord International.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

This duo is very highly regarded in the islands for beautiful slack key compositions and marvelous vocals sung in the original tongue. In fact, in the evolution of modern Hawaiian music, the pair is looked upon as a cornerstone element. Slack key's a method where the player detunes his guitar strings to suit the mood wanted in each song. The mode has always been highly regarded, but the Beamers have elevated its wistfully shimmering elements to new levels. The playing's a good deal more complex than much of the historied catalogue, blending not just the ki ho'alu ('slack key' in Hawaian) derived from Spanish paniolo influences, but also including tangs of several traditions all the way up to semi-classicalism.

Though a good deal of mellow energetics invade the CD, the prime vibe is of lullabyes, nocturnes, Impressionism, and sweetly mellifluous languor drifting off to amber clouds, honeyed sunsets, and soft breezes. Listening to their version of the Hana Chant gives very strong indications as to where Jade Warrior got some extremely key elements of their unique progressive style, and the follower, Kalihi Street Jug Band, kicks off with a complex interplay of the guitars, is sung in English, and even incorporates Handel's Hallellujah Chorus humorously. By the time the disc closes, you'll have heard folk, country, chorale, lighthearted pop, jazz, and a welter of styles all blended in a seamlessly superb concoction with the source mateials. Thus, when learning these guys have copped six of Hawaii's version of the Grammy, it won't surprse you one little bit.

Track List:

  • He Aloha No'O Honolulu (Lot Kauwe)
  • Lei Aloha, Lei Makamae (Chas. King)
  • Keawaiki (Helen Beamer)
  • Kilakila Na Roughrider (traditional)
  • Makee Ailana (?)
  • Hana Chant (John Watkins)
  • Kalihi Street Jug Band (Beamer / Beamer)
  • Waipi'o Paka'alana (traditional)
  • Wai O Ke Aniani (traditional)
  • Mr. Sun Cho Lee (Eaton Magoon Jr.)
  • Sweet Okole (Beamer / Beamer)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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