Hawaiian Blossom

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For her third album (the second with a wider distribution), Raiatea returns with a somewhat more traditional set than her previous, excellent affair (Sweet & Lovely). Primarily, this means a lot more falsetto singing, and somewhat more simplistic guitar strumming as accompaniment. That's not to say that she doesn't still sound great, of course. While Raiatea has matured vocally, she tends to spend more time in the falsetto range, where she does an excellent job, but one can only bemoan the loss of more time that could have been spent in her natural (read: non-falsetto) voice. Instrumentally, her sense of harmony has developed further, putting the guitar to good use to accompany herself, and pulling out some big guns for guest artist roles (Robert Cazimero and Led Kaapana are two of the guest players here). For fans of the traditional sound, but who'd like to hear that little bit of a contemporary twist that can be put on it by the newer generation, this album is excellent. For those looking for a bit of contemporary Hawaiian music while avoiding the omnipresent Jawaiian and adult contemporary types, pick up Sweet & Lovely first, but keep Hawaiian Blossom in mind for your next run at the music shop.

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