CD Reviews: Ken Emerson and Napua Makua
LISTEN: Ken Emerson
Slack and Steel
This reissue of Ken Emerson’s 1997 instrumental album gives listeners two Hawaiian guitar traditions for the price of one: slack key serves as a backdrop for the languorous sounds of steel guitar, both in its acoustic and electric forms. Read the descriptive liner notes for a veritable history lesson, as Emerson plays in a variety of historic styles, and wields vintage instruments ranging from a 1928 metal-body National acoustic steel guitar to a 1956 wood-body Guild f40. Guitar geeks take note.
LISTEN: Napua Makua
Makua’s debut album scored her a 2008 Na Hoku Hanohano “Female Vocalist of the Year” award, and this autobiographical follow-up offers a satisfying progression, both musically and thematically. Original compositions mix well with standard hula favorites, and there’s even a rousing chant, “‘O Kane, ‘O Kukapau,” to close out the album, showcasing Makua’s background as an award-winning kumu hula.