Keola & Kapono Beamer

Moe'uhane Kika: Tales From the Dream Guitar

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Produced by new age artist George Winston, Moe'uhane Kika: Tales From the Dream Guitar is among the Hawaiian-oriented guitar albums that came out on the Windham Hill-distributed Dancing Cat label in the 1990s. Because of the Winston/Windham Hill connection, some listeners might wonder if Moe'uhane Kika is a new age release. But this instrumental CD isn't really new age. Keola Beamer's specialty is Hawaiian slack key guitar, and many of the songs that he embraces on Moe'uhane Kika are well-known in Hawaii. However, Beamer's performances are tranquil and peaceful enough to appeal to new age audiences. A calm, tranquil ambience is maintained on familiar Hawaiian songs that include "He Punahele No 'Oe," Johnny Almeida's "Roselani Blossoms," and "Holo Wa'apa" (which was a major hit for the famous singer Lena Machado). Equally appealing is a medley that unites "Bali Ha'i" (a Rodgers & Hammerstein favorite from the 1947 musical South Pacific) with "Stranger in Paradise." Those who are used to hearing "Holo Wa'apa" or "Roselani Blossoms" performed by vocalists will find that they also work quite well as instrumentals. Beamer is a very lyrical and melodic player, and his acoustic slack key guitar "sings" throughout the album. But, for Beamer, pretty and lyrical don't mean wimpy. For all its beauty, Moe'uhane Kika isn't meant to fade into the background or serve as elevator music. And again, this CD isn't really new age, even though it is calm enough to appeal to new age audiences. Whether they care for new age or not, world music fans shouldn't have a problem getting into Moe'uhane Kika.

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