By Wayne Harada
It’s been a couple of months since we’ve tended to Island Sounds, our reviews of local CDs.
So, time to relaunch:
Jake Shimabukuro arguably is the No. 1 ‘ukulele virtuoso; he tours solo, jams with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and records with Yo-Yo Ma. Alone with his trusty uke and playing “raw” amid adoring fans in clubs large and small, Ol’ Frenetic Fingers gently sweeps through 12 emotion-charged originals (some known, some new) and five covers (a uke take of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and a killer Bach bit on “Two-Part Invention No. 4 in D Minor”) with even a tribute to his Asian heritage on “Sakura, Sakura.” It’s a journey of exploration and an explosion of artistry — with a little between-song patter justifying the “live” element. A dynamic Shimabukuro soars! | Wayne Harada, special to The Advertiser
Overview: Shimabukuro’s sizzling strumming style gets ample showcase, but warm, intimate and quiet moments endear, too. But where’s the DVD version?
**** (four stars)
A pioneer of the Jawaiian music sound, Brother Noland returns to his Island roots with this revealing, reassuring assembly of traditional Hawaiian tunes rendered in old-school kupuna style, laced with wisdom and soulfulness. Highlights: a playful “Henehene Kou ‘Ana,” a reflective “My Little Grass Shack at Kealakekua, Hawaii,” an expressive “Great Hawaiian Man” (in English) and new versions of “Royal Hawaiian Hotel” and his signature “Pua Lane.” Noland’s casual style (he plays uke and slack-key guitar) is blessed with accompaniment of Ledward Kaapana, Mike Kaawa and Kawika Kahiapo; his Hawaiian eloquence makes this a winnah. Don’t miss the bonus track, “Mr. Sun Cho Lee.”| Wayne Harada, special to The Advertiser
Overview: This is kanikapila time, a moment for sharing; happily, Noland plays live Sundays at the new Kani Ka Pila club at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach.
**** (four stars)