Island Mele: Kapono revisits a classic
REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / email@example.com
‘Home In The Islands’
Henry Kapono (Kapono)
When an artist of Henry Kapono Ka‘aihue’s stature revisits his older work the results are always noteworthy. That’s true of 15th anniversary “special edition” rerelease of his 1997 “Home In The Islands” album, but for reasons that Kapono, soft-spoken and modest by nature, doesn’t mention in the liner notes.
The title song is a reminder that Kapono is one of the great island songwriters of his generation. Songs that he wrote as a member of Cecilio & Kapono in the ‘70s are local classics almost four decades later. “Home In The Islands,” which he wrote more than 30 years ago, was a hit for two other acts — Island Band and the Brothers Cazimero — before he recorded it himself.
With reggae-style rhythms and imitation-Jamaican accents so deeply entrenched in local music it is also easy to overlook the fact that Kapono brought Caribbean rhythms into his music with “Stand in the Light,” the break-out hit off his first solo album, “Kapono,” in 1981 — years before the Jawaiian boom began. It is also easy for contemporary “kanakafarians” to miss the fact that he recorded the song with reggae rhythms but without affecting a faux-Caribbean accent.
There’s more to this reissue than the remastered tracks, new cover art and beautifully illustrated liner notes booklet. Kapono has used the possibilities provided by traditional “physical” albums to create a new listening experience by present the songs in a different order than in 1997. Two songs have cut and three — all originals — added.
The new songs — “Chillin’ On the Rock” and “Taste of the Tropics” — fit in nicely amid the diverse styles of music of the original project. “Taste of the Tropics,” soothing and romantic, has the lyric hook of a good commercial or visitor industry ad campaign.
“Kona Winds,” an older composition recorded with the click-click sound of ‘ili‘ili (pebbles) amid the conventional percussion instruments, reminds Hawaii that Kapono writes catchy contemporary hapa haole songs as well.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.