He Aloha / Cody Pueo Pata

He Aloha...

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On his sophomore release, Cody Pueo Pata puts out a nice mix of original compositions and standard songs and hula chants. His focus is largely on tradition, but in a reverent manner, rather than one of sheer rigorous preservation. Older techniques, mostly in falsetto, are used throughout the album to accentuate the timelessness of the music. Hula chants sprinkled here and there provide a more primal version of the same message. The excellent, and somewhat comic "Laga-Haga" jam makes use of an old tradition using gibberish as a lyrical core to confuse the uninitiated (or unwanted) listener. Musically, the sound is quite clean with some minor steel guitar and rhythm in the background, and a piano throughout. While the piano doesn't fit with the strictest sense of tradition, the instrument works well for the lazy afternoon sound that takes up most of the work here. Compositions hold a strong sense of time and place with a relaxed feel, looking back a couple of generations for their inspiration it would seem. Pata's falsetto is really the key to the performance though, avoiding specific time-locked sounds in favor of a floating, lilting sound that could just as easily be from the golden age of Hawaiian exotica. For a good dose of traditional Hawaiian music with the conveniences of modern recording and cultural sensitivity built in, He Aloha will make a fine addition to the racks.

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