A sleeve note to Keali'i Reichel's album Lei Hali'a provides the seal of approval of ‘Ahahui ‘Olelo Hawai'i recognizing "the careful use of the Hawaiian language as presented in this musical project, in both the pronunciation and in the written form of the language." That would seem to give the impression of a recording of traditional Hawaiian music, but that is only partially the case. Many of the songs on the album are traditional ones, but even then the arrangements are often new. And Reichel mixes in his versions of adult contemporary pop, including songs written by Diane Warren ("Every Road Leads Back to You") and Richard Marx ("Now and Forever"), as well as a cover of Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King. His version of "Stay," a song written by Carol Maillard, is an a cappella doo wop treatment on which he sings all the parts himself. Thus, Reichel here is a Hawaiian artist, but not a purist by any means. Whether singing in English or Hawaiian, he uses his versatile tenor voice to make pleasing light pop music likely to appeal beyond the shores of his native islands.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann