Kurosawa debut a somber statement
With this EP by second-generation island entertainer Nick Kurosawa, Roger Bong and his label have moved beyond reissues of ’80s out-of-print local pop recordings into the business of recording new local artists.
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Nick Kurosawa (Aloha Got Soul)
Roger Bong and his Aloha Got Soul label first contributed to Hawaii’s recording industry with reissues of out-of-print local pop recordings from the 1980s. With this professionally packaged six-song EP by second-generation island entertainer Nick Kurosawa, pictured, Bong and his label have moved into the business of recording new local artists.
Kurosawa, who sings and accompanies himself on guitar, displays his observations as a songwriter on three songs. He shows his abilties as an interpreter of other writers’ work with the others.
Kurosawa sings “What You Won’t Do For Love” as if Bobby Caldwell had written it with him in mind. He approaches “What Do I Do” with a bit more melancholy than that song’s writer, the late Mackey Feary, did with Kalapana, but Kurosawa’s arrangement works well too.
Kurosawa’s originals continue the theme of longing and loves lost. To say “falling is better than not moving at all” as Kurosawa does in “Possible” doesn’t suggest a fulfilling relationship.
“The River” is another original that describes the loneliness that comes when a lover goes. However, many people can relate to songs inspired by loves lost, and they’ll appreciate Kurosawa’s skill in expressing that shared experience.
In the 48 years that Roy Sakuma has presented his annual ukulele festival in Kapiolani Park, he has presented musicians from many foreign nations as well as local virtuosos and platoons upon platoons of his own young students.
One of the guest artists who has represented Japan’s ukulele tradition in recent years is a youthful instrumentalist known professionally as Kyas. “Pineapple Street,” officially released the first of this month, is his best work to date.
Kyas accompanies himself on acoustic guitar through a program of 10 instrumentals; a second guitarist sits on on three of them. The title song is one of three that have English titles.
Composers’ credits aren’t provided, but “If” is indeed Kyas’ instrumental treatment of the David Gates tune that was a hit for Gates’s band, Bread, in 1971.
Contact Kyas at email@example.com.
Reviews of releases by Hawaii’s musical artists run each week in TGIF; artists who wish to have their recordings featured may send digital links to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send CDs to Island Mele c/o John Berger, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813.