Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu

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The latest release from Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu immediately following upon the success of his work on the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack for Disney. The music presented here is based mostly upon the hula and mele chanting of the old traditions of Hawaii, but there are differences to be found throughout. This isn't exactly traditional hula chant, but rather hula chant as doctored and conceived in the mind of Keali'i Ho'omalu. There's a more definite focus on the progressive end of music, as bits and pieces of grooves wander in through the use of the pahu drums in non-traditional ways. The addition of a few string players adds in another dimension on some songs, giving an almost Spanish flair to the work. In large part though, the album is dominated by Ho'omalu's chant, accompanied capably by a suitable groove on the pahu drum, and a small chorus of chanters responding from time to time. Hula chant itself is a powerful medium, but not always musical beyond the rhythms of the chanter. Here, it's given a melody and a deeper rhythmic structure, as well as some occasional instrumentation. It's not traditional, but it's steeped in tradition nonetheless. It's an entirely interesting twist on a semi-austere tradition of music, and demands at least one listen. For curious fans of Hawaiian music, this is certainly an album to give a shot.

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