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Song collection conveys pride in Hawaiian legacy

By John Berger

LAST UPDATED: 3:06 a.m. HST, Oct 28, 2012


(Kapala Music Group)

The responsibilities of being Hawaiian — a legacy from previous generations to be shared with those who will follow — is the theme of this collection of new original Hawaiian and hapa haole songs.

Kapala members Kimo Artis and Zanuck Lindsey share composers' credit with producer Michael Ruff for the title song. Sung in English, it expresses their pride in being Hawaiian and what that involves ("I teach our children to heed our kupuna/Ancient wisdom handed down from royality … Always remember who you are").

The album embraces a refreshing variety of rhythms and musical styles. For example, "Come On Home," a song about missing Hawaii, is set to music that is part Jamaican and part R&B. "Kohala Roundup" has a country/blues feel reminiscent of Brooks & Dunn's "Boot Scootin' Boogie." "Back to the Porch" conveys in instrumental form the experience of a backyard jam.

Interesting as it is, "Legacy" would make a larger contribution to its worthy objectives if it included English translations of the Hawaiian lyrics and a bit more information on the others. For instance, who was the Keauiluna of old mentioned in the song of the same name? How did he earn the respect of his people and the trust of his queen, as the lyrics describe?

» "Legacy"

'Nani Ahiahi'

Agnes Kimura
(Pau ‘Ole)

Agnes Kimura has been known for years as one of Japan's most prominent slack-key guitarists, but on this album she sings and plays ukulele with Tomo­hiro Kawa­kami (bass) and Yusuke Suzuki (guitar/Tahitian banjo). They open with an exuberant arrangement of "Wahine ‘Ili­kea" and succeed in putting their stamp on contemporary compositions by Amy Hanai­ali‘i Gilliom and Willie K, Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, Kawaikapuokalani Hewett and Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole.

Kimura has a beautiful voice, and the instrumental arrangements are nicely done as well.

"Vini Vini," a Tahitian song, is a frenetic burst of energy — a riotous intermission, if you will — that breaks this noteworthy Hawaiian album into two groups of five songs each.

»"Wahine 'Ilikea"

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