Five Hawaii-inspired Creations

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - August 05, 2009
Masters of Slack Key Vol. 2

Daniel Ho Creations is releasing a remarkable collection of albums this month from some of the best talents in the business. Let’s see ... On the Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2 album are George Kahumoku Jr., Dennis Kamakahi, Sonny Lim, Keoki Kahumoku, Owana Salazar, Kawika Kahiapo, Jeff Peterson, Richard Ho’opi’i, Bobby Ignano and Daniel Ho. There’s also Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett‘s new album, Ho’ola I Ka Poli.

And Darlene Ahuna is releasing Aloha Pumehana. George Kahumoku Jr. teams up with Bob Brozman to release Kani Wai.

And the reigning tag-team champions (aka winners of last year’s Grammy) Daniel Ho and Tia Carrere come out with He Nani.

The first question I had for Daniel was, “Did you plan to release five albums all at once?”

His response, “I don’t plan out my year very carefully. I just sort of let things fall into place. This year, everything seemed to happen all at once.”

All of the albums were recorded at Ho’s home studio in Los Angeles except Kani Wai, which was recorded in San Francisco.

“It is a very relaxed recording environment, free of the usual pressures of “the studio” because there is no studio time, no audio engineers, no producers watching the clock and calculating how much money is being spent each minute,” adds Ho. “We take lots of breaks, go to the kitchen, hang out, talk story.”

Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2 is the fifth CD from the award-winning concert series recorded live at George Kahumoku’s show at the Napili Hotel on Maui.

“Every year we strive to make the collection better than the previous ones, so this year we were fortunate to include the music of Kawika Kahiapo and Jeff Peterson,” says Ho. “They add a wonderful dimension to our family of artists.”

Ho’ola I Ka Poli is collection of songs by legendary composer and hula master Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett. This is CD No. 2 for Hewett and Ho, having released their first album together last year, Honehone I Ka Poli.

Hewett’s new album

“Kawaikapuokalani Hewett is truly an inspired songwriter, one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and an amazing cook,” added Ho. “It’s always a pleasure working with him.”

Darlene Ahuna’s Aloha Pumehana is filled with classic Hawaiian melodies with some musical twists - slack key ‘ukulele, jazz piano and bass.

The track list includes Aloha Pumehana, Hi’ilawe, Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua, I Love You Hilo, Pua O Ka Makahala, Pretty Red Hibiscus, Nani Kaua’i, Waiehu, No Ke Aha and Hilo One.

George Kahumoku Jr. and Bob Brozman release their album Kani Wai, which is described as a sparkling gem from the archives of George Winston and Dancing Cat Productions. The album features Kahumoku playing many Hawaiian standards and a couple of originals.

He Nani is all all-original collection of Hawaiian songs featuring Ho, Carrere and lyricist Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman. A follow-up to their Grammy Award-winning album ‘Ikena, the songs reflect perspectives they all share on life.

“Amy and I spend hours on the phone talking about anything and everything, from music to memories of our days back in the Islands,” says Ho. “Tia and I do the same, usually at gigs or while we’re taking a tea break during a recording session. What a gift it is for us to be able to document these ideas in song.”

Upcoming for Daniel Ho Creations are a few more album releases, mainly Solo Slack Key, the G Kilauea Tuning and Polani. Polani is an all-original solo (four-string) ukulele album, and Solo Slack Key features all the songs in Ho’s previously released book, Slack Key Guitar: The G Kilauea Tuning. Expect those to hit shelves in October.

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