Island Mele: Kamauu returns with ‘La la la la’

Aug. 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / jberger@staradvertiser.com

Four-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Natalie Ai Kamauu’s first four albums had one-word Hawaiian titles. This time she’s doing something different.

natalie ai kamauu la la

‘LA LA LA LA’

Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko)

“La la la la” is a nonsense line from “The Shower Tree,” a song she co-wrote with Kihei Nahale-a as a mele inoa (name song) for her son.

Kamauu has one of the most beautiful voices in contemporary Hawaiian music. Her choice of songs show it off perfectly. Several of her music industry peers guest on individual selections; Aaron Sala (piano), Hoku Zuttermeister (acoustic bass) and producer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Tucciarone join her husband, Iolani Kamauu (rhythm guitar), in providing instrumental support.

Three songs stand out. “The First Lady Of Waikiki” is an original hapa-haole song that was inspired by a visit to the Moana, built in 1901 and now the site of more than a century of memories.

“Make You Feel My Love,” also in English but written by Bob Dylan, is neatly reworked with a hapa-haole arrangement.

And there’s a “ghost track” that kicks in 32 seconds after the final notes of “Ka Wai A Kane” that finds Kamauu following the pioneering work of Kawaikapuokalani Hewett and Freddy Von Paraz, and Tony “Tony C” Conjugacion, in taking Hawaiian chant to places few have gone before.

Kamauu completes “La la la la” with an illustrated booklet that contains the lyrics, translations and background information necessary to fully appreciate it.

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John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at jberger@staradvertiser.com.

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