Keali'i Reichel

Kamahiwa: The Keali'i Reichel Collection

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Keali'i Reichel has succeeded in Hawaiian music by, in a sense, being all things to all people. With his long hair and bare-chested appearance, he seems the epitome of a traditional artist, and he sometimes performs chanted traditional music over drums (in some cases actual ancient songs; in others, original compositions). But he also mixes in songs with a more contemporary sound in a gentle folk-pop mode and even includes covers of Western contemporaries like Sting on his albums. On this compilation drawn from his first five CDs, he includes one 50-minute disc of the folk-pop arrangements, followed by a 25-minute selection of chants. (The covers of AC pop have been left out.) Thus, he continues to have it both ways, coming off as an authentic traditional performer and as a contemporary one, although in this case, unlike his regular albums, he has largely separated the two styles onto different discs. Throughout, the appeal of this warm tenor makes the material meaningful even to those not familiar with the Hawaiian language employed for most of the running time.

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