This week's synopses of Korean television dramas includes: "Wonderful Mama" • "Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love" • "All About My Romance" • "Secret of the Birth"
The Green — Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner in 2011 for its self-titled debut album — starts the countdown to the Aug. 20 release of the group's third full-length album with two download-only singles, "Take Me On" and "Something About It." • Also: "Key" by Victoria Vox
Bay Area ki hoalu (slack key) guitarist Patrick Landeza made history last month when his album "Slack Key Hauka‘i" won a 2013 Na Hoku Hanohano Award. It was the first time a nonresident artist and a download-only project has won the slack key category.
"Maliu" by Ikaika Blackburn: The Hawaiian falsetto singer brings the 3-D revival to Hawaii's record industry with the illustrations for his album's liner notes booklet (3-D glasses included). • Also: "This Wave" by Stef Muzic
Tony Conjugacion's performance credits stretch from Broadway (where he performed as Tony C. Avanti in "Miss Saigon") to "TC2000," an avant-garde pairing of Hawaiian chant with mainstream electronic dance music. • Also: "Take 2" by Herb Ohta Jr. and Jon Yamasato
Hawaii's music has been enriched by the contributions of several families in which talent extends from one generation to the next. This aptly named album by Herb "Ohta-san" Ohta and his son, Herb Ohta Jr., is an excellent example.
If the top Brill Building pop songwriting teams of the late '50s and early '60s had been tracking what Dick Dale and the Beach Boys were doing in Southern California, and if the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean had spent more time in Hawaii, they all might have come together to create a group like the Dukes of Surf.
Beautiful acoustic Hawaiian music played in the old Hawaiian style and recorded to preserve and perpetuate the language and traditional music of Hawaii — that's what Nate Kana‘e's economically packaged album is all about.
Troy Fernandez holds an important place in contemporary local music for his work as a member of the Ka‘au Crater Boys with Ernie Cruz Jr. in the '90s. The duo won the Hoku Award for contemporary album of the year two years in a row.
Kupaoa — the husband-and-wife duo of Kellen Paik and Kalikolihau Hannahs Paik — goes from triumph to triumph with its third album. A majority of the songs are written by the couple or by Kellen working with other collaborators.
Mailani Makainai broke out big as one-half of the pop duo Keahiwai; the group's debut album won two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 2002. Mailani and producer Dave Tucciarone keep the instrumentation uncluttered.
In the 13 years since he released his first album with Riley Lee, soft-spoken slack-key guitarist Jeff Peterson has made significant contributions to Hawaiian music. • Plus: "Tiki Tonic" by Tiki Taboo
As Kristian Lei and her husband, Gavin Vinta, anticipate their first child, this CD is a timely retrospective on where she's been. The first few selections represent the trajectory of her career.
Multitalented musician-arranger-producer-studio engineer Pierre Grill is the third member of the de facto trio heard on this recently released album by Herb "Ohta-san" Ohta.
Robert Cazimero's fifth solo album is a sequel to last year's Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner, "Hula." Like its predecessor, "Hula 2" makes excellent use of his talents as a singer and pianist.
The words "island music" on the cover of Manu Boyd's first solo album may confuse folks for whom the phrase is a euphemism for Jamaican-influenced music. No, Boyd hasn't jumped on the Jawaiian bandwagon.
Weldon Kekauoha's third solo effort, released last fall and a 2013 Grammy finalist for regional roots album, celebrates the richness of Hawaiian music with classic compositions by Helen Desha Beamer and Lena Machado and a larger collection of newly written songs by ‘Iliahi Paredes and Kainani Kahaunaele.
Daniel Ho explores a new genre of cross-cultural island music with an imaginative and impressively packaged album, "On a Gentle Island Breeze," which was nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award in the regional roots music album category.
Bobby Brooks Wilson, known in Hawaii as Bobby Brooks, broke into show business here in the '90s portraying Jackie Wilson in the original Waikiki production of "Legends in Concert."
It's been 28 years since Na Leo — then performing as Na Leo Pilimehana — debuted as the 1984 winners of the original I-94 "Brown Bags to Stardom" talent contest. A dozen-plus Na Hoku Hanohano Awards later, Na Leo's newest release is a major new title in modern Hawaiian music.
Start with the basic modern Hawaiian string instruments — guitar, ukulele and bass — add steel guitar, a drum set and a horn section, and the result is Kahulanui.
It would be understandable if some people assume this is a locally recorded solo project by the lead singer of the Beach Boys.
Singer-songwriter Johnson Enos' new album "Lehua" builds on the momentum created by his children's musical, "Honu by the Sea," last summer. • Also: "Almost Home" by Reggie Padilla
Soft-spoken recording artists are easily overlooked in an industry often driven by hyperbole and hype. Nathan Aweau's new "‘Io" album is a timely reminder of his unusually diverse repertoire as a singer, musician and songwriter. • Also: "Sweet Embrace" by ManoaDNA
An exclamation point would be an appropriate addition to the title of this long-awaited album by mono-monickered vocalist Sunway. It's been more than 20 years since she made her debut.
"Don Tiki's Hot Lava Holiday Songs" • "A Christmas Wish"
Rolling Stone magazine has made itself the subject of ridicule in recent years with its lists of the "Greatest (fill in the blank) of All Time" — as if "all time" began only around 1940 and doesn't have billions of years yet to run.
Louis "Moon" Kauakahi writes in the liner notes of Ho‘okena's newly released 11th album that the title can be translated three ways: "past recollection," "a turning point" and "a time of change." All three translations apply.
The banjo is not often heard these days in local recordings. Its prominence here sets the Intire Project's first full-length album apart from this year's other local releases.
Neos Productions celebrates Christmas with a collection of 14 songs recorded by an assortment of artists — some of them major figures in local music, others virtual unknowns.
Kuana Torres Kahele — a multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award-winner as a member of Na Palapalai and also as a solo artist — achieves another artistic triumph with this recently released album of Christmas music.
"Book of Cliches" • "Hold On Tight"
"‘Get a Job' Soundtrack" by Barefoot Natives » Eric Gilliom and Willie K return with the soundtrack album from the duo's 2011 comedy film. The local film was released on DVD last week so fans can enjoy the work in both formats. • Also: "Ukulele Dance" by Taimane
"Legacy" by Kapala: 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. • "Nani Ahiahi" by Agnes Kimura
When an artist of Henry Kapono Ka‘aihue's stature revisits his older work, the results are always noteworthy. That's true of the 15th-anniversary "special edition" re-release of his 1997 "Home in the Islands" album.
Mike Kaawa's recently released album, "Kuapaka‘a," follows three previous solo albums — "Hwn Boy" (1999), "Hwn Groove" (2003) and "Kanikapila Live" (2007) — plus many more projects with other artists.
Jake Shimabukuro has explored many ideas with his music since stepping forward as a solo artist: electronic effects, high-speed strumming and the meticulous technique he has described as respecting the space between the notes.
"FLYGHT808" • "Summer Love"
The title of Gary Aiko's long-awaited album is fitting for several reasons. It describes his family's impact on modern Hawaiian music. It applies to Aiko personally although he is far too modest to describe himself that way. It also applies for a reason that he reveals in the liner notes.
The lyrics of Bo Napoleon's current single should have distributors of Heineken beer knocking on his door with an endorsement deal in hand. Napoleon, a Native Hawaiian singer-songwriter now residing in California, doesn't just mention "green bottles" in this song about being "born and raised Hawaiian."
In the 17 years since the release of her debut album, "Native Child," Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom has proved herself one of the most versatile island singers of her generation.
Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love) » With career accomplishments from the early '70s onward, Keola Beamer needs no hype regarding his importance as a slack-key guitarist, composer, vocalist, recording artist and educator. • plus "Na Hoa"
Uncle Tom's Gabbin' … The Legacy 2 • "Summer!"
Celebrity marine artist and environmental activist Wyland's second "Blue Planet" album harnesses the power of the blues to deliver an important message about protecting our ocean and freshwater resources.
"Shades of Grey" • "Redefined"
Melveen Leed is so well-known as a major showroom entertainer and for the Hawaiian and hapa haole songs that have become her musical signatures, that her first full-length mainstream jazz album will surprise those who know her only from those previous recordings.
Frank De Lima and his writing partner, Hoku Award-winning lyricist Patrick Downes, have been addressing hot-button political issues by pairing original pidgin lyrics with the melodies of familiar mainstream pop hits for more than two decades.
Eric Lee's last project was a single of the Leonard Cohen anthem "Hallelujah" which presented him as a mainstream pop artist. "Kawehilani" brings him back to his Hawaiian roots. • Plus "Kailua" by Don Stewart Soon.
"I am the son/Of a righteous man/He was so proud/Of this land." With that simple statement the Kalama Brothers — real-life siblings Ryan and Kai Kalama — introduce themselves and their debut album.
Hewett is the composer and sings in his familiar laid-back style in "Hali‘a i ka Poli"; Ho accompanies him on acoustic piano. Concerns about lyric content and "too many slack-key albums" seem to have abated since the Hawaiian music category at the Grammy Awards was eliminated.
Tom Scott and Brittni Paiva's relationship continues in "Tell U What," with Scott serving as the producer, arranger, engineer, primary musician and dominant partner on this mainstream instrumental jazz project.
Na Palapalai's roots go back well before 2002, but that was the year the group broke out as the hot "new" act in neo-traditionalist Hawaiian music. When it happened the group was a trio — Kuana Torres Kahele, Kehau Tamure and Keao Costa.
Mana Maoli, a community-based cultural organization, continues its series of fundraising recording projects with this two-disc compilation. The first disc, titled "Volume IV: This Is Maoli Music," contains 21 tracks, including one on which a spokeswoman describes the group's programs and the importance of increased funding for Hawaiian charter schools.
An eight-minute rendition of "Amazing Grace," sung in Hawaiian and English, is one of the musical gems in this amazing collaboration by slack-key master George Kahumoku Jr. and harmonica wizard Norton Buffalo.
"K'nova" • "Hapa Haole Hit Parade"
'Wahi Mahalo' » Kamakakehau Fernandez was first noticed outside his home island of Maui when he represented King Kekaulike High School in Ty Okumura's statewide Star Quest talent contest in 2002. • 'Gold' by Gnarwhal.
"The I-Project" » Audible Lab Rats' breakthrough album comes with a notable back story: Most of the music comes from free iPhone apps. • "A 20 Year Collection of The Mana‘o Company"
"Love Game" • "Kingdom Come"/"Do Ya"
George Kainapau is rightly remembered as one of the greatest Hawaiian falsetto singers of the 20th century. Not only did Kainapau have an unusually broad falsetto range, he sang Hawaiian-style falsetto and traditional American-style falsetto with equal power and clarity.
Jack Johnson's six Kokua Fest concerts have done a lot of good for Hawaii with the net proceeds funding Johnson's Kokua Hawaii Foundation programs. The biggest "problem" has been that the concerts sell out so quickly.
The old adage “Take your time, do it right” applies to almost all creative endeavors. This long-awaited debut album was originally scheduled for release last month, but the project’s co-producers — band members Cyril Pahinui and Greg Sardinha — wanted more time to complete and edit the 18-page liner-notes booklet that documents the recordings. The current projected release date for the hard-copy CD is the end of this month. The results are well worth the extra time spent.
Singer-songwriter Brad Kawakami follows the year-end release of his debut CD single, "I Found My Love in Waikiki," with this full-length album of Hawaiian, hapa-haole and mainstream "easy listening" music.
Reviews of "It Always Comes Back Around" by Saving Cadence and "For Love" by Anuhea
"Alternative HI" » Co-producers Shawn Livingston Moseley and Brandon Apeles cast a wide net in assembling this alt-rock compilation album. It includes business-savvy pros such as Kevin Jones, the Hollow Spheres and Saving Cadence, and a larger number of acts.
"Pacific Rendezvous" » Songwriter Lance Jyo is one of the many Hawaii artists whose career has flourished in other markets. This two-disc album, released by a Tokyo-based record label for international sale, is a compendium of almost two decades of his work here and elsewhere. • Plus "Departure" by Hiroshima
Baba B. came out of West Oahu and broke out big in 1997 with his debut album, "Big Boy in Love." The semiautobiographical title song was an instant hit. So was his heartfelt tribute to Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole. • Plus: "Promises & Expectations" by EMKE
"Ecstacy" by Virgin Mary • "Heaven" by Rob Yamanoha • "Hawaiian Style Love Songs" by Various artists
An award-worthy Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier documentary film and an additional 18 minutes of instructional videos make Brittni Paiva's recently released DVD an attractive introduction to her work and a must-buy package for fans.
A television special recycled for public sale on DVD, "RAP: Hawaii's Comic Genius" is a welcome retrospective on the life and work of one of Hawaii's great comedians, Rap Reiplinger.
Conceived in Dubai, brought to fruition in Hawaii, Borrison Ivy is the creation of Australian-born songwriter-guitarist Richard Barber.
''A' » Natalie Ai Kamauu won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for female vocalist with both of her previous solo albums -- "'E" in 2006 and "'I" in 2009. "'A" would easily make a three-peat for her. • 'Over Hawai'i' by Various Artists
The names change as one generation is replaced by another, but the emotions remain the same. Bats in the Belfree speak for romantics of all generations with the alt-rock originals on the group's debut extended-play effort.
Kawena Mechler, known around town as a booking agent and show producer, is now a recording artist. Four original songs present her as a local pop singer, and as a songwriter with national potential.
Pairing songs by John Lennon ("Imagine") and Gaylord Holomalia ("Lover of Mine"), or linking the frank sexuality of "Ahi Wela" to the romanticism of "Ribbon in the Sky," requires imagination.
Japanese pianist Chiyo Flynn's third Hawaii album is a group project that relies on friends such as Herb Ohta Jr., who joins her on "Requiem -- Bach Prelude No. 1," turning it into a beautiful duet for piano and ukulele.
The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts responded to complaints about R&B and hip-hop being lumped together in a single Na Hoku Hanohano Awards category by giving those distinct music genres separate categories. It's now up to the music artists to show there is enough happening in Hawaii to sustain them.
"It's Christmas Time Again" » Local music scene veteran Freelance checks in with an original composition that speaks for those whose special someone is somewhere else this Christmas. • "The Descendants: Music from the Motion Picture" • "Journey of Light … The Early Years"
Network television series have been providing exposure for Hawaiian music and island entertainers ever since ABC/Warner Bros. Television launched "Hawaiian Eye" in 1959.
"A Christmas Tango (With Santa)" by Starr Kalahiki • "Hawaii 5/4" by David Yamasaki
Lehua Kalima's solo album is a clean break with Na Leo Pilimehana. No, Kalima has not, repeat, not, left the group, nor has Na Leo disbanded. But the presentation here is not Kalima doing what she does with Na Leo.
"Waimaka Helelei" » Dennis Kamakahi and Steven Inglis honor the victims of a dark chapter in Hawaii's history with this collection of songs that relate one way or another to the Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai, where Hansen's disease patients were sent in exile. • "E Ho‘i Mai" by Waipuna
Long anticipated but worth the wait, the Throwdowns live up to expectations as the group -- finally! -- follows "Don't Slow Down," its debut extended-play release of two years ago, with the band's first full-length album.
Three months after the band's self-titled debut album won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for best reggae album in May, The Green released "Love & Affection: The EP," a five-song, digital-download package, as the first step of a well-executed promotional campaign leading up to last week's release of a second full-length album, "Ways & Means."
Raiatea Helm has had a remarkable career since the release of her debut album, "Faraway Heaven," in 2002. She's received several Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, been a Hawaiian music album finalist twice at the Grammys, and enjoys international popularity as a concert performer and recording act.
The Green came out of the box big and strong with the release of its self-titled debut album in 2010. The quartet not only hit it big commercially but also won the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for best reggae album from the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts • and "Ho‘ala Iapana" by Various artists
The guitar riffs on "Prophetic Blues" and the vocal and instrumental arrangements on "Hear the Truth" are particularly close to that vintage Steely Dan sound. [...] • DJ Rayne celebrated his 34th birthday, First Friday and the reopening of SOHO Mixed Media Bar with the release of this deejay mix CD in July. [...]
Pianist Les Peetz describes himself as "offbeat," and in Peetz's case that's a good thing. He pops up around town from time to time, playing one-nighters with small groups of like-minded musicians, and from time to time releases the results of those eclectic events as limited-edition, self-distributed CDs.
At the age of 103, Bill Tapia sets a record one way or another with almost everything he does. Veteran researchers know the risks of stating things in absolutes but it is safe to say that Tapia is the oldest well-known professional entertainer still performing and also the oldest well-known professional ukulele player.
"Got This Music" by Natural Vibrations » With 15 years of popular success, five hit albums and three Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for best reggae album to their credit, Natural Vibrations owns an important spot in the local music scene. • "Liana Mason" by Liana Mason • "Pu‘ukani: ‘Sweet Music' of Hawai‘i" by Various artists
"Anything & Everything" by Kit Dylan Arrieta • Male or female, straight or gay, whatever race or ethnicity you identify with, the tumultuous experiences of love and heartbreak seem to be universal. • and "Eddie" by Otis Schaper
"Ukulele Jazz" by Benny Chong » If Benny Chong had retired from music and gotten a day job when Don Ho & The Aliis broke up in 1969 he would still deserve a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts.
"Live a Little … Hawaiian Style" Vol. 1 and Vol. 2: As traditional record stores fade from the American music marketplace, resourceful record labels and distributors are finding new places to sell traditional hard-copy records. Each disc offers a select but broad look at modern Hawaiian music.
"Days of Yesterday" by Hiromi Kanda — Kanda and conductor-arranger Matt Catingub return with a second album of romantic American pop standards recorded with a full orchestra. • "Haleiwa Blues" by Ron Artis Family Band
"Nandemo Dekiru/You Can Do It, If You Try" by Alvin Okami & Friends • "Remembrance/Live At The Triple Door" by the Honolulu Jazz Quartet • "In The Moment" by Sarah Maisel