Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole


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Somewhere at the crossroads of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music lies Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole. Deeply rooted in the hula traditions, he is also a product of the current day. The bulk of the music heard on this sophomore release is based on hula chanting. Much more than that awaits, however, with notes of contemporary Hawaiian ballads, pieces of the blues, and paniolo-style song and guitar here and there, as well as a stray cello. The album gives an initial impression as standard contemporary Hawaiian fusion. It eventually comes out as something deeper than the average piece on the same shelf though. The songs aren't reworkings of the usual traditional set, but they also aren't on the edge of becoming overly pop-oriented or reggae-inflected. Purists should potentially look elsewhere first, but come to this album at some point as one interested in (or tired of) contemporary Hawaiian music.

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