CD Reviews: Hearios and KUmZ

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(Eso Recordings)

The light-hearted wordplay of this band’s name is a good preview of what you’ll find inside its eponymous debut: a mellow folk sound that recalls Ben Harper, with acoustic guitars aplenty and a tinge of soul and hip-hop on the side. With songs like “Plain Trains & Autoways” and “A Great Way to Start the Day!” the whole project feels like the product of a bunch of friends having a good time together.    

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Listen to Your Heart

(Kauakoko Foundation)

In a way, Listen to Your Heart is a scrapbook of memories for the hula company Halau i ka Wekiu. Kumu hula Karl “Veto” Baker and Michael Casupang (affectionately called KUmZ by their students) have composed 14 songs recounting stories of trips taken throughout the Islands, friends and family and other aspects of living Hawaiian in Hawaii. As you might expect from two teachers, KUmZ pulls it all off impeccably, from the heartfelt Hawaiian-language lyrics to the polished production. Maikai no.