Kamau

Live from the Lo'i

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AllMusic Review by

There are plenty of groups quietly trying to make a new voice in Hawaiian music at any given point in time. Most are held back (not always a bad thing) by a sheer reverence for the history of music on the islands and its greatness. Some try to break free but go too far and lose the emotion and mood of the islands that so much define the sounds. On this album, Kamau (a trio with familial links to Kapono Beamer and Steve Ma'i'i) does a surprisingly good job of bridging the gap. While they show the ability to play some very sweet slack-key bits and sing along in a tender, classic way, their real power lies in transporting the overall ambience and mindset of island life into newer explorations of music. The title track, for example, makes use of a thumping blues riff, not overly Hawaiian in musical style. However, the lyrics decry the loss of Hawaiian culture and reference the power of tradition, slipping into Hawaiian from time to time. Other songs run the gamut from straightforward contemporary acoustic pop in English to attempts to pick up chicks using the slogans of King Kalakaua. Really an excellent piece for fans of Hawaiian music who want to hear something new (that doesn't just pull from the classics), or fans of the few other such acts (Jack Johnson, possibly Jake Shimabukuro).

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