Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Spirit

"Hapa Holidays" Is a fun yet refreshing blend of old and new.

Innovative as always, Hapa's 1995 Christmas album "Hapa Holidays" is an inventive mix of old and new Christmas tunes. Instead of focusing solely on Christmas songs the pair have decided to focus on the spirit of the season with a larger theme of Love. So while half the songs are strictly about Christmas the other half are simply love songs or biblical songs that are very well chosen to fit in the spirit of the album. Such as "Love is the Reason to Believe," "House of Gold," and a song from Santa to Mrs. Claus in the cover of "Lady in Red."
The familiar songs that are here such as "Joy to the World" and "Mele Kalikimaka" are performed as well arranged instrumentals which set them apart from the many other renditions.
For listeners looking for a departure from the very familiar Christmas recordings but with out losing that Holiday feeling, this album for you. But this is a very good album whether it is Christmas time or not.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reichel's interesting first compilation

Keali'i Reichel's first best of collection "Kamahiwa Collection One" is an interesting selection.

Keali'i Reichel was one of the most popular Hawaiian Musicians of the 1990s. He released four albums throughout the decade and all were big hits containing a number of hit songs on each album. His output has lessened since the start of the new millennium with only one new album and a Christmas record. He is still a revered Artist in the Hawaiian Music world.

In 2005 he released his first compilation "Kamahiwa Collection One." There are a lot of interesting things about the collection however. First off it is a double disc, something Hawaiian Music CDs are generally not because it is more profitable to make two separate CDs instead of one double disc. Second the majority of the songs are not hits, however big songs like "Kawaipunahele" and "Maunaleo" are included. Yet "The Road that Never Ends" is the only English language song and hits like "Wanting Memories" are absent. Third the second disc is comprised entirely of Hawaiian Language chants.
As the liner notes point out this Collection is designed to explore Reichel's perpetuation of the Hawaiian poetic arts and be simply a greatest hits compilation. The notes also suggest that the listener not simply enjoy the sounds but delve into the meanings of the lyrics and songs.

These are not criticisms but simply interesting choices for his first compilation. The Collection is excellently packaged with full lyrics and English translations, fine liner notes and a few words, written by Reichel, about each song. "Kamahiwa" achieves its goal of showcasing Reichel's perpetuation of Hawaiian Song, yet listeners looking for a Greatest Hits collection may be disappointed. Reichel later released a companion CD "Kamalei Collection Two" which contained more hits but again is not a straight forward hits compilation. Those seeking a full view of Reichel as an artist will be interested in seeking out both Collections.