Island Mele: ‘All In’ by Pali

Sep. 10, 2013 | 0 Comments


‘All In’

Pali Ka‘aihue (PK Records Hawaii)

Pali Ka‘aihue has been known till now as a Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning record producer, songwriter and recording artist with his namesake band, Pali, and for his service as president of the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA).

paliWith “All In,” he steps forward without his Hoku Award-winning group to record an all-instrumental album with a tight team of unidentified studio musicians. Composers’ credits are not provided but Ka‘aihue identifies two as originals. One is the title song.

He explains that “all in” has become a “personal theme of mine…to always give a 1000% in whatever it is you do.” He mentions that he “faced a number of life changing ordeals” in 2012, and that the album was also inspired by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. Personal ordeals and public tragedies have resulted in a beautiful body of work that encompasses several styles.

The title song pairs Ka‘aihue’s ukulele with electronic percussion in an up-uptempo rock arrangement. “Rising” opens with hints of Asian stringed instruments, koto or gayageum perhaps, and a few bars of “Arirang,” before it erupts into big-scale uptempo rock. In dramatic contrast, “Affirmation” is a romantic electric jazz number that blends guitar and electric piano with drums and bass. Two other songs showcase the nahenahe (sweet, melodious) sound of slack key. In short, Ka‘aihue and his anonymous musicians embrace several genres and cultures.

Ka‘iahue also mentions in the liner notes that he donating “half of all sales” to organizations that have been providing aid to victims of the Japanese nuclear disaster.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at

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