Island Mele: Eisenstein returns with ‘Magic’

Oct. 25, 2015 | 0 Comments


Long-time veterans of Hawaii’s music scene remember guitarist Lee Eisenstein as one-half of the Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning instrumental duo White Eisenstein that was active here in the mid-1980s.



Lee Eisenstein (Lionel Standish Records)

“White” was Brad White, who played recorder, panpipes and percussion. They won the Hoku Award for best instrumental album with their third album, “Old Friends III,” in 1987.

Eisenstein works his instrumental magic on an assortment of standards (“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” “Hawaiian Wedding Song”) and originals. Most of the arrangements are straight-forward acoustic guitar instrumentals. On a couple he uses studio technology to create multi-guitar arrangements.

“I Ka Po Me Ke Ao,” written by Keola Beamer, gives the collection a strong and soothing Hawaiian sense of place.

Percussionist Richard Marquez slips in some unobtrusive rhythm work on several selections. Multi-talented Pierre Grill adds some sound effects on others. The final song, “Hapa Haole Rag,” breaks format completely with a rocking original that features Grill on accordion.

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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

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