CD Reviews: Mark Yamanaka and Kumz

Music reviews of Mark Yamanaka and Kumz.


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LISTEN: Mark Yamanaka

Lei Pua Kenikeni




Yamanaka takes his debut album’s title from a classic old John K. Almeida song—an apt move, given the traditional sound he achieves. Whether he’s hitting the high notes with a winning falsetto on songs by his mentor, Johnny Lum Ho, or crooning a baritone ode to his daughter, Yamanaka manages to be consistently winning. There’s a lot to enjoy here, including a new composition by Na Palapalai’s Kuana Torres Kahele, and a skillful take on the Kalakaua standard “Wailana.”

 

LISTEN: Kumz

On the Summit

 


As on their previous albums, Kumz members Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang draw inspiration from the duo’s hula halau, Halau I Ka Wekiu, and the experiences the troop has had together. The mood throughout is warm and relaxed, making you wish you could go on tour with these guys. The students of the hālau even get into the action themselves, singing as a backup chorus on several of the songs—a touch that won’t fail to make you smile.

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