Keola Beamer

Kolonahe: From the Gentle Wind

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An album of high-quality ki hoalu from Keola Beamer, one of a small group of slack-key players since the '70s to consistently stay at the top of the genre. Taking his love for nature as inspiration, Kolonahe focuses on the wind. Most of the songs present on the album deal in some way or another with the wind, either directly or in musical reference. The fare is standard in comparison to Beamer's other albums, but that isn't to say that it's sub-par. The music is performed with his usual passion and virtuosity, and to say that it is standard is to group it among a number of other excellent albums. The songs themselves range from new compositions to old standards from Beamer's repertoire to songs from the monarchy era of Lili'uokalani and Kapi'olani. The mood is always relaxed and sentimental, added to by the inclusion of members of the Modern Mandolin Quartet and the San Francisco Nahenahe Strings on a few songs. The inclusion of George Winston (the label founder and a friend of Beamer, aside from his status as a new age virtuoso) is an addition to the album, but perhaps not the addition one might wish for. The piano accompaniment only works with slack key at times, bringing darker chords to the mix that don't particularly belong. For a slack-key album, there are a number of albums to choose from of high quality, this being among them. For a Keola Beamer album, one might do well to listen to Wooden Boat or Mauna Kea first, then move on to this one afterward.

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