Review | Songlines

Aloha Radio Hawaii

Rating: ★★★

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Album and Artist Details




Rhymoi Music


A Chinese label recording vintage Hawaiian music in an ultra-modern California studio, with mostly non-native musicians? Go figure. But despite the initial doubts, this is a quality outing with the best of intentions and some solid musical chops on display. With a repertoire dating back to the late 1800s, but mostly from the 1920s-1940s, these classic hapa haole tunes were originally the hybrid result of combining traditional Hawaiian elements with the popular American jazz-swing style of the era. Prominently featuring ukulele, Hawaiian steel guitar and vibraphone, well-known songs like ‘Aloha Oe’, ‘Hula Blues’, ‘My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua’ and ‘Sentimental Journey’ are all given fresh takes.

Produced by Rhymoi head honcho Yunchuan Ye, while assembled and mixed by four-time Grammy-winning music director and sound engineer Dave Way, the players are led by knowledgeable Hawaiian music purveyors and fretboard aces Ken Emerson and Jim Kimo West. Also on board are veteran Los Angeles studio musos like Dean Parks and vibraphonist Nick Mancini, with the inclusion on several tracks of Hawaiian singer Tavita Te’o adding an essential touch of island authenticity. Suitably laid-back with a tropical breezy mood, Aloha Radio Hawaii offers a lovingly crafted tribute to a golden era of Hawaiian music.

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