Island Mele: Hanano’eau shares nationalist themes; Dennis and Christy Soares reflect on island life
Reviews of the latest music releases featuring Hawaii-based recording artists by Star-Advertiser music critic John Berger.
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Ka‘imi Hanano‘eau (Lo‘ihi Inc)
Ka‘imi Hanano‘eau places issues of concern for Hawaiian nationalists in broader historic context with “Ke Alana.” He translates the EP’s title into English as “the Awakening,” and its five songs can certainly awaken the political consciousness of island residents who either understand their lyrics or learn their meaning.
For instance, Hanano‘eau presents “Hawai‘i Pono‘i,” written by King Kalakaua and Royal Hawaiian Band Bandmaster Heinrich “Henri” Berger as the anthem of the free nation of Hawaii in 1876, as an instrumental duet for hard-rock electric guitar and traditional Hawaiian percussion. Hanano‘eau’s rock guitar also percolates through his reworking of “He Hawai‘i Au,” a modern statement of Hawaiian national consciousness written by Ron Rosha and Peter Moon, and popularized by Moon’s first local super group, the Sunday Manoa, in 1971.
“I Ku Mau Mau” is performed as the chant preserved by Hawaiian patriot David Malo in the second quarter of the 19th century; it calls for unity to achieve a common purpose and was heard during the protests against the Bishop Estate Trustees in 1997.
Hanano‘eau switches to English with “808 2K” and calls on the listener to “malama the ‘aina and stop other outsiders from taking more.”
He also speaks eloquently in English of wrongs done with “Hawaiian Nation.” Oldies fans will recognize the song as an alteration of John D. Laudermilk’s “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian),” a 1971 chart-topper for The Raiders. The changes Hanano‘eau makes in Laudermilk’s lyrics makes the song a lament for Hawaiians as well.
“WASN’T IT WEDNESDAY IN 1972”
Dennis and Christy Soares (Elation Music)
Oahu born and raised, now a long-time resident of Hilo, Dennis Soares is a tireless advocate of original music, a prolific songwriter, and an active performer and recording artist with his wife, Cindy Soares. This is the couple’s first full-length album for Year 2020. Dennis Soares wrote all 10 songs. He covers a diversity of subjects.
The title song is Soares’ autobiographical account of events that happened on Oahu 48 years ago. With other songs he shares spiritual insights or comments on current society. For example, “Good Times Are Coming Back Again” previews its welcome inspirational message with its title — good times are coming so don’t let anyone put you down.
Two instrumentals spotlight Dennis’ capabilities as a guitarist. Cindy sings as a soloist on a third, “Little Raindrop,” that reminds the listener of the importance of water to all of us.
Visit Elation Records at fb.com.