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Music Review

Na Palapalai, Ka Pua Hae Hawai‘i, Koops2 Entertainment


Na Palapalai’s third collection brings more unimpeachably nahenahe (sweet) music from the standard bearers of Hawaiian falsetto. The trio’s first two albums each won multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards, and the group isn’t messing around with a winning formula. Things sound much the same: creamy falsetto voices, a straightforward blend of guitar, ‘ukulele and bass, an even mix of originals and classic covers. A couple of guest musicians help beef up the mix: Aaron Sala lends his piano expertise to “Lei Kula Na Ali‘i” and “Kimo Henderson Hula,” and Shawn Ishimoto backs up Kuana Torres on guitar.

The music itself is easy to digest, but get ready to bust out your Hawaiian dictionary if you don’t already ‘olelo Hawai‘i. Na Palapalai is writing and singing for an audience of Hawaiian-music initiates—no English lyric translations here. Gone, also, are the helpful explainers Na Palapalai used to provide for each song, which pointed out sly double-entendres and other lyrical subtleties. It’s mostly forgivable—you don’t need liner notes to enjoy lively gems such as “Ka Manu ‘Ohala” and “Lei ‘Ohu”—but some of us could use the kokua.

Na Palapalai should start clearing room on its shelves for a few more Na Hoku awards.

“Ka Pua Hae Hawai‘i”
“Ka Manu ‘Ohala”

To purchase this album, please visit http://store.mountainapplecompany.com/Na+Palapalai/Ka+Pua+Hae+Hawai%60i.

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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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