He Aloha…, Cody Pueo Pata, (Ululoa Productions)
For his second solo album, Cody Pueo Pata has created an ode to love in all its incarnations with a collection of Hawaiian-language mele aloha (love songs). Mele aloha ‘aina such as Pata’s original “Ku‘u Home” extol Hawai‘i’s beautiful locales, while the mele ho‘oipoipo “Mili‘opua” uses a prominent rocky hill in Kalihi Valley as a metaphor in a song about lovemaking.
In “Laga-Haga,” one of the lighter cuts on the album, Pata sings in a nonsense version of Hawaiian to describe the steps involved when two people get together. It’s an enjoyable novelty, although the spoken-word skit at the beginning of the song may wear thin on repeated listenings.
For the most part, however, He Aloha… is rock-solid Hawaiian music. Pata bolsters his seven original compositions with six well-chosen standards, including a lively take on Charles E. King’s “Momi o ka Pakipika.”
The instrumentation is rich and varied, incorporating steel guitar, piano and ‘ukulele. Throughout, the Maui kumu hula displays the beautiful voice that won him the Frank B. Shaner falsetto contest in ’99—it’s a joy to listen to.
He Aloha… has the makings of a modern classic; the strong theme really ties this thing together. Aloha makou i keia mau mele.