A Hawaiian Christmas
(Tiki Man Records)
For her first Christmas album, Amy Hanaialii takes on Hawaiian-language songs from the hymnal Na Himeni Haipule Hawaii, as well as a roundup of the usual English-language suspects. If you’ve ever heard her sing, you’ll be able to imagine the sound of this compilation fairly accurately; reverent, traditional, lush. One nice surprise: Hanaialii’s jazzy, double-time rendition of “Mele Kelikimaka,” with Chino Montero adding a nimble ukulele accompaniment.
Slack Key Christmas
If vocals aren’t your thing, the local Christmas album of choice this year is Slack Key Christmas. Producer Charles Michael Brotman, the producer behind the slack key compilation that won the first-ever Hawaiian Music Album Grammy Award in 2005, has regrouped many of that album’s artists. Sonny Lim, Randy Lorenzo, Jeff Peterson and others turn in polished and eminently tasteful renditions of standards such as “Winter Wonderland” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”