A Holiday Gift Of Island Music CDs

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - November 17, 2010
| Del.icio.us

‘Tis the season to be putting out CDs.

We’ve got three albums sealed and delivered, and the artists are, in no particular order: Paul Shimomoto, Kumz (Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang) and Willie K.

Paul Shimomoto’s local boy charm and smooth, vocal stylings have led the way to his third solo release, All That Hawaiian Jazz.

“The inspiration for the project came last year when I was invited to play as a guest artist in the Imperial Jazz Festival in Japan with the Hawaiian Jazz Ensemble,” says Shimomoto. “As sort of a side to the festival, we were asked to record a few songs at a studio there. So that was the foundation, and we have two of those songs on this CD.”

The nine-track album features the star-studded cast of the Hawaiian Jazz Ensemble (Jeff Peterson, Dan Del Negro, Mark Tanouye and von Baron).


“We just have a great time playing together. It’s always a lot of fun. We just have the best time being creative, having fun and just seeing what comes out,” says Shimomoto, an Iolani grad.

What they created is what Shimomoto describes as jazzy, but nothing wild.

“It’s easy listening,” he adds. “I have always wanted to create a CD that they can pop in their car for the drive home and have it be relaxing and take them away.”

The album features tracks Sophisticated Hula, On A Coconut Island, Mapuana, Keep Your Eyes On The Hands, Let Me Try Again, Como Fue, Hula Medley, Stardust and Wonderful World Medley.

Three years since the release of his sophomore album, Shimomoto says, “I’ve always felt the need to have quality recordings and strive for each album to be a jump from the previous album. For me, this album is a move forward as far as the musicianship and the quality of the recording and arrangements.”

Join Shimomoto as he celebrates the release of the album with the Hawaiian Jazz Ensemble and Weldon Kekauoha Monday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Gordon Biersch.

For more on the CD release party, a listen to his new songs or to purchase an album, visit paulshimomoto.com ...

Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang aka Kumz just released their fourth album, a project that is only made possible with the kokua of their hula ohana, Halau I Ka Wekiu.

The album, On the Summit, is the English translation of I Ka Wekiu, a song on the album given to the halau by E. Kaiponohea Hale.

“Kaipo is our hula brother and good friend,” says Casupang. “Following the Merrie Monarch one year, he e-mailed us this song. We kept it, and earlier this year we put a melody to it, and it fittingly became the title of this album.”

All 13 songs included on the album were carefully crafted through the relationships and experiences of the halau, including visits to Queen Lili’uokalani‘s royal garden, Uluhaimalama.

“The first song is a song written for Veto by his daughter (Kaenaaloha) for a recent birthday celebration,” says Casupang. “We follow the traditions of our kupuna, that they would always write things down in mele. One of the songs came about because one of our students asked us to write a song that he could do at his wedding for his wife.”

Musically produced by Horace K. Dudoit III, On the Summit includes 12 original songs and a traditional one. Proceeds from the CD will benefit the halau’s nonprofit organization, Kauakoko Foundation, whose mission is to preserve, perpetuate and educate in matters relating to Hawaiian arts and culture, specifically the art of hula.

“Our halau’s logo is three peaks, and we are always striving to reach a goal, but once you reach that goal you don’t stop, you move on to the next goal,” says Veto Baker. “And that not only applies in halau, but in life.”

To experience this musical journey to the summit, join Kumz and Halau I Ka Wekiu for a free public performance this week Thursday (Nov. 21) at 5 p.m. at The Edge of Waikiki at Sheraton Waikiki.

Or check out their web-site, halauikawekiu.com ...

Things must be jolly over on Maui, ‘cause Willie K has not one, but two Christmas albums out. Well, one-anda-half, to be exact.

Willie K has teamed up with Hawaiian Host for its Limited Edition Christmas Medley.

Each box of MacNut Crunch, Dark Chocolate Macadamia, Maui Caramacs and Chocolate Macadamia includes an exclusive Willie K CD with new original songs One For The Troops and Christmas Time Again, along with Jingle Bells/Kani Kani Pele and Ave Maria.

The four-song CD sampler is neatly wrapped in each box of yummy bites and is the perfect gift for the holidays. It’s available at all Walmart locations throughout the state for a limited time.

“Willie K is one of Hawaii’s most-revered artists, and we are so happy to partner with him in launching our Christmas gift to the world,” says Keith Sakamoto, president of Hawaiian Host Inc.


In celebration of the new Christmas Medley, Hawaiian Host and Willie K are hosting a mini concert and autograph-signing session at NEX (Navy Exchange) Pearl Harbor Sunday, Dec. 5, at noon.

But before Willie makes his way to the NEX, he has another concert to attend. On Thursday, Dec. 2, he will perform in an exclusive Christmas concert at Don Ho’s Island Grill in celebration of his newly released full-length Christmas album, Willie Wonderland.

Tickets for this 21-andover event are on sale and can be purchased at williekchristmas.eventbrite.com or by calling 285-2044. VIP tickets cost $45 and include early entrance at 5 p.m., preferred seating, pupu buffet, complimentary draft beer from Hawaii Nui Brewing Company, standard cocktails by 808 Vodka, wine from Fetzer Vineyards and pre-concert entertainment by Eric Lee. General admission is $25 and includes entry at 7 p.m. The concert begins at 7:30.

The album, which officially releases Nov. 26, includes classics such as Baby It’s Cold Outside with Lehua Kalima, The Christmas Song, Winter Wonderland, Do You Hear What I Hear?, Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree and lots more. The album has a generous 13 songs and two bonus tracks.

Presented by Island Soul Entertainment and Mountain Apple Company, this is Willie’s second Christmas CD release. His first, Willie Kalikimaka, was the bestselling Christmas CD in 1999 and received the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Christmas Album of the Year. It also featured his chicken-skin version of O Holy Night.

Willie Wonderland delivers again with another spot-on performance. And the nice thing is whether you pick up the chocolates or the full-length release, both include Ave Maria, another chicken-skin song that captures his unique style, pure vocal talent and musical diversity.

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