‘Aina Kupuna, Hoku Zuttermeister, (Kaleiola Records)
I’m not convinced this is an entirely good thing, though. The song selection is unassailable—Zuttermeister takes on nuanced, mature compositions such as Frank Hewett’s “La‘ieikawai” and his own great-grandmother Kau‘i’s “Na Pua Lei ‘Ilima”—but it’s all so earnest, so measured, so solemn. You can only listen to so many of these in a row before feeling the need to stretch your legs. The sun does come out a bit, finally, near the album’s end, with “Ka Ua Kilihune” and “‘Aina Kupuna E/Ho‘i Ke Aloha i Ra‘iatea,” but it sure feels like a long slog to get there.
Zuttermeister’s first effort is technically flawless, and chock full of nutritious Hawaiiana. It’s just not that fun.