Sean Na'auao

Ka 'Eha Ke Aloha

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The latest release from one of the prime movers on the traditional Hawaiian front, Ka 'Eha Ke Aloha provides an exceptional set of music. The songs are a mix of traditional pieces from the Hawaiian queens and new compositions from Na'auao and his ilk. The range of vocal abilities displayed is worthwhile (from relatively deep to normal works to nearly stunning falsettos), but it's the compositions themselves that are really the key to this album. Hulas and bouncing rhythms, slack key interludes, and hints of steel. One might recognize motifs from everyone from the Pahinuis to Alfred Apaka, and all are given their due reverence. There aren't any particular highlights, as the performances are solid throughout the album and the style stays relatively constant with only slightly varying swings. "Backyard Slack" is an excellent mix of hula and slack key. "No Hawaiians, No Aloha" is a nice contemporary groove (though the rap seems a bit out of place). The rest of the album holds a steady course, and is worth a listen for those looking for accessible inroads to Hawaiian music. It serves as something of a mini-primer to traditional Hawaiian music, with contemporary additions for the accessibility.

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