Island Mele: ‘Friends’ features talented twosome

Aug. 17, 2015 | 0 Comments


Bryan Tolentino and Herb Ohta Jr., have enjoyed successful parallel careers as professional musicians.

ukulele friends ohta tolentino


Bryan Tolentino and Herb Ohta Jr. (Neos)

Ohta has had a remarkable career as a solo artist and partnered successfully with other high profile artists such as Daniel Ho and Keoki Kahumoku. Tolentino is best known for his skill at accompanying other artists.

Tolentino and Ohta team up here on an assortment of Hawaiian, hapa-haole and American pop standards — “Manuela Boy” to “In A Little Hula Heaven” to a Kui Lee medley that blends “I’ll Remember You” and “Days of My Youth.”

The instrumental interplay between them is especially clear when heard on headphones. Tolentino lays down a lot of interesting licks behind Ohta’s precise work up front.

Jake Shimabukuro sits in with the duo on “Gm Fleas Revisited,” a new version of a song Ohta previously recorded with Jon Yamasato. The threesome rip and rock in memorable style.

“Hotaru,” composed by Kuwata Keisuke, guitarist and frontman of the Japanese rock band Southern All Stars, is a nod of aloha to their many fans in Japan.

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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