The Honolulu Advertiser
August 13, 2006 - Wayne Harada
Keawe originals highlight of 'Hula'
Two recent CDs focus on instrumentalists who also sing:
John Keawe, a pioneer of ki ho'alu, and Sol Ho'opi'i, a
specialist in Hawaiian steel guitar.
"BEAUTIFUL HULA DANCER" BY JOHN KEAWE; HOMESTEAD
• Genre: Ki ho'alu instrumentals (including a few
• Distinguishing notes: John Keawe long has been
a revered and respected slack-key guitarist. He's all about
simplicity with precision, and his newest does not disappoint.
He wrote all 14 instrumentals (with two collaborations)
and four vocals; these are fresh originals. The title song
(one of the vocals) is a tribute to Hope, Keawe's wife,
and is a sweet Valentine. There's tranquility and solace
on " 'Aina Hanau," a ditty about birthplaces. "Aloha
Pueo" describes a rhapsodic encounter with an owl
during a journey in the Volcano area. "Gentle Spirit" soothes,
inspired by the Christmas season and "a higher source." "Hana
Pipi" is an excursion in time to paniolo and vaquero
days in Kohala.
"Gimme Some Slack" is very nahenahe, like a
spontaneous backyard jam, with Keawe's mastery on guitar
in full throttle.
• The outlook: Should be a major contender come award
time. Locally, nationally — a disc for all seasons.
• Our take: Reassuring evidence the ki ho'alu is
alive and kicking — and in good hands.