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Island Mele: Don Tiki, ‘A Christmas Wish’
REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / email@example.com
‘Don Tiki’s Hot Lava Holiday Songs’
Don Tiki (Taboo)
They establish the mood — part “world music,” part “jungle jazzy,” part satire — with the opening song, “Xmas Eve at the Club Bambü.” Flute, sax, assorted percussion instruments and several over-the-top vocalists — most notably the late Fritz “Delmar deWilde” Hasenpusch — maintain the exotic romantic ambiance through the final notes of the closing song, “Havana Gila” (sound it out to get the joke!).
“Don Tiki’s Hot Lava Holiday Songs” is available at www.dontiki.com.
‘A Christmas Wish’
Various Artists (Mistralwind/Audio Hawaii)
Anyone familar with Hawaii’s vibrant theater scene will find the credits of this last-minute Christmas release ample reason to buy a copy.
One of the producers is multi-talented composer and vocalist Roslyn Catracchia, a core member of the ‘Ohi‘a Productions production team and an occasional stage performer. The other producer is Catracchia’s long-time musical partner, arranger and music programmer David Kauahikaua, known outside the theater community for his work with Frank De Lima.
Other participants have extensive performance credits in musical theater or opera — Mary Chesnut Hicks, Megan Mount and Zenia Zambrano Moura to name three.
A majority of the 16 selections celebrate Christ’s birth. Christina Souza sings “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” over an expansive orchestral arrangement. Cindy Fujiwara sings of Christ’s sacrifice in “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” Mount stars in “No Eye Had Seen,” and Moura’s voice soars over Kuahikaua’s dark yet inspirational arrangement of “What Child Is This.”
There are also songs with secular themes. Vanessa Benavente gets the vocal spot on “A Christmas To Remember,” and Catracchia’s mother, Beebe Freitas, plays celeste, an instrument similar in sound to a glockenspiel, on a beautiful arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker.”
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.