Richard Ho'opi'i

Ululani

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AllMusic Review by

Ululani is the first solo album from Richard Ho'opi'i, best known for his many years performing as half of the Ho'opi'i Brothers with his brother Solomon (not to be confused with the better-known Sol Hoopii of early steel guitar fame). Ho'opi'i's claim to fame is his outstanding falsetto singing. His ukulele playing is good, admittedly nothing in and of itself to write home about but good accompaniment for his vocals. Helping to fill the instrumental void are Bobby Ingano on steel guitar, who provides the stereotypical stretches of improvisation and the necessary fades here and there, and the masterful Led Ka'apana. The vocal range displayed by Ho'opi'i here is something worth hearing at least once, as he goes beyond the normal limits for falsetto singing (including those of the aforementioned legendary Sol Hoopii). That said however, his ability to hold the higher notes seems to have diminished a bit over the years, leaving him occasionally stumbling over a note here and there. Ho'opi'i's wife, Ululani, assists on vocals from time to time, perhaps outdoing him on the high end but not necessarily to the benefit of the finished product. Instrumentally, this is a fine album with enjoyable work coming from all of the artists involved. The vocal end is rather grating from time to time, however, so listen to it for the range but not necessarily for the melodic abilities.

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