CD Review: Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole
Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole (self-titled)
(Mountain Apple Co.)
My three favorite moments in Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole’s new self-titled album:
- Track 1, “Grandchild,” at 3:26 – Kaumakaiwa’s grandmother, Pualani, jumps in with what sounds like one of those rap/spoken-word verses that’s become so unfortunately popular in Island music. But, wait a minute, she’s chanting fluidly in Hawaiian! Turns out the problem with every other band’s rapping is the fake Jamaican patois. This is where it’s at.
- Track 5, “Aina Po,” at 0:07 – After a short drum intro, a chorus of a cappella voices begins chanting in three-part harmony over handclaps, sounding wild and exuberant, building over the course of the song to a peak of energy and celebration. It sounds like a small army of singers, but it’s really just Kanakaole, his mother and his grandmother, layered over and over.
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• Track 9, “Noho Ana I Hilo,” at 0:48- The ambient sounds of rain and wind grow louder behind Kanakaole’s a cappella rendition of his great-grandmother Edith’s composition, transporting you to chilly Hilo. It’s a lonely sound and, combined with Kanakaole’s powerful voice, evocative enough to draw chicken skin.