Island Mele: Smith wants you to smile and have fun with her new album “Element”
Although Keola Beamer wrote “Real Old Style” about his grandfather, the song’s lyrics describe other Hawaiian men of a certain time and place as well.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Although Keola Beamer wrote “Real Old Style” about his grandfather, the song’s lyrics describe other Hawaiian men of a certain time and place as well. Singer/guitarist Nate Kana‘e fits the description nicely. The songs on his aptly titled CD are Hawaiian standards, and he sings them in a laid-back, traditional Hawaiian back-porch style.
Kana‘e opens with “Royal Hawaiian Hotel,” written by Mary Pula’a Robins for the opening of the famed “Pink Palace” — the Royal Hawaiian Hotel — in 1927. Next comes “Kilakila Na Rough Rider,” which commemorates the successes of na paniolo Ikua Purdy, Archie Ka‘aua and Jack Low at the 1908 Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo in Wyoming. (Competing on loaned horses that were quite possibly not the best available, Purdy was named World Champion, and Ka‘aua placed third.)
Among the other selections are Charles E. King’s expressive love song, “He Nohea Oe I Ku‘u Maka,” “Hu‘i E,” from the 1932 Hollywood adventure film, “Bird of Paradise,” and “Lei ‘Ohu,” written by George E. Akiu to honor the official island lei of Kaua‘i, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.
As with his previous album, “Fisherman’s Son,” in 2015, Kana‘e recorded the album with some musician friends in Napa County, Calif. Kana‘e’s well-worn and weathered voice is the foundation of this impeccably Hawaiian project from the diaspora, but his anonymous sidemen — they work days teaching music at a local college — give him excellent support throughout.
Contact Kana‘e at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Baby Girl Boss)
Canadian-born Erin Smith has called Hawaii home since she arrived on Maui in 2004 and then assembled a pop-punk quartet that made a name for itself as the Throwdowns. In 2012 Smith introduced herself as a solo artist and subsequently moved to Oahu.
“Element,” her bright and poppy download-only single, brings her solo career as a singer and songwriter forward another notch.
The lyrics describe a love so strong that it is going to create a totally new element while people across the galaxy watch in wonder. She sings with such enthusiasm that the word “element” becomes both a rhythmic hook and an expression of exuberant joy. Everyone should feel so good!
As with many record projects these days, “Element” came together in several locations. Smith recorded her vocals on Oahu, did the initial production work with a co-producer in London, and then brought in Maui resident Robert “The Beat Inventor” Tsuhako to revamp and up-amp the song into its present “ready for the Hot 100” form.
“I can hear what I’m envisioning in my head, and Rob really took that and ran with it,” Smith wrote in a recent email. “Everything seems so weighted right now, culturally, it feels right to make music that makes people just want to smile and have fun.”