Nina Keali'iwahamana


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Nina is a remastering of one of the classic albums from one of the leading ladies of Hawaiian song, Nina Kealiiwahamana. Originally released in the '70s, the album is clearly of the age of the popularization of Hawaiian song throughout the rest of the world, contemporary with the popularity of Don Ho and Alfred Apaka. Nina's voice is a gentle instrument, soaring over the instruments, but just barely staying within the usual structures of Hawaiian music. The instrumentation is an overly lush orchestral set, reminiscent of the thick orchestration of classic Hollywood, and more specifically of the portrayals of the South Pacific in classic Hollywood. Harps, chimes, and glockenspiels are layed out over the top of gentle flutes and guitars, along with extensive string arrangements and the occasional horn punctuation. With all of the orchestration, the problem is the overshadowing of Nina's vocals. The orchestra quiets down to allow her room as needed, but tends to play for extended periods between her verses. Nina is one of the classic songstresses of the islands, but this album focuses more on the exoticism and mood than on her abilities. As such, it's still a worthwhile album for its purpose, but others might be more highly recommended for those looking solely to hear the full power of Nina's voice.

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