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Island Mele: Boyd strong in solo debut
REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / email@example.com
The words “island music” on the cover of Manu Boyd’s first solo album may confuse folks for whom the phrase is a euphemism for Jamaican-influenced music.
Manu Boyd (Hui Waianuhea)
No, Boyd hasn’t jumped on the Jawaiian bandwagon. What he’s done, after 26 years as the leader of Ho‘okena and its predecessor group, Kipona Leo Hawai‘i, is take his commitment to the indigenous music of Hawaii in a new direction. After all, the indigenous music of the Hawaiian islands is certainly “island” music!
Boyd establishes the concept with the title song. The arrangement and instrumentation used is traditionalist; the lyrics speak of the importance of listening to “the living earth.” The balance between tradition and musical evolution is maintained with each song that follows. Various combinations of musical instruments, voices and vocal arrangements make each song distinctive while also maintaining a unity of style.
Guests are used sparingly. Robert Cazimero adds his voice to one song, Kainani Kahaunaele to another, Louis “Moon” Kauakahi to a third. Jeff Peterson (slack key guitar) and David Kamakahi (ukulele) are among the musicians who join him on various tracks.
Boyd completes this perfect debut album with a liner notes booklet that contains the Hawaiian lyrics, English translations, background information and production credits.
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.