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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

Kepakemapa - September 1996 Volume 2 Issue 9

 Teresa Bright ~ Kawaikapu Hewett

ka pilina “A Unique Collaboration”

ka pilina CD insertHonolulu (August 7, 1996) -- “Ka Pilina” is a unique collaboration by Teresa Bright and Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett. It combines the chant and song writing talents of one with the singing/arranging talents of another. Both are cousins, the match is a natural, the result is extraordinary.

In this original concept album Hewett has written all the songs and chants which are based on a variety of Hawaiian legends. Pele's journey from Tahiti to the Hawaiian Islands. The legend of Hopoe, and other less familiar legends among them. These represent some of his best and exemplify his tremendous talent. Bright sings all the song selections, she also joins Hewett on his vocal selections. In this effort she confirms her status as one of the reigning vocalists of today.

Bright also serves as producer/arranger and, as such, has tapped some of the most notable musicians in Hawai`i. Kit Ebersbach on piano and keys, Ben Vegas on guitars, Steve Jones on bass and Noel Okimoto on drums and percussion. While the songs and chants are based on myths and legends, there is a decidedly contemporary feel to this album, due to Bright's arrangements of the songs, chants and narration. Also, Hewett is writing new material based on existing lore.

“Pi`i Ke Kai” is a good example, Hewett's vocal, while reminiscent of a chant, weaves with narration of the Pele and Namakaokaha`i legend. Bright provides accompaniment and added color. From her palette Bright chooses a variety of styles to color the songs. “Nani Wale Ku`u `ike O Ha`ena” has a jazzy tone; Bossa nova characterizes “Popo`alaea”, and “Kahikilani” has a decidedly pop rock beat.

Hewett's forte as a songwriter is his ability to write new material based on his vast knowledge of Hawaiian folklore. Note Hopoe, which has been recorded before, most notably by Loyal Garner and the Makaha Sons. But here he relates the song in chant, giving it new dimension and another life. Another song, “Kamali`i O Ka Po”, which can stand as a fable, is enriched once we know about the legend that inspired it.

In fact, all the songs are prefaced in the accompanying booklet with its corresponding legend, and references are made for additional reading. The booklet is very artistically composed by Maurine Paishon. Included are photographs by Paishon, Bright and Derrick Llanos as well as archival photographs from the families of Hewett and Bright. All together the package enhances their theme of creating music based on their legacy, for their future descendants.

The descendants also make their appearance. Hewett's son and daughter accompany him on “Tutu Kana`e” and the whole project is dedicated to them and Bright's daughter Keaolani.

This album succeeds as a showcase of Hewett's writing talents and Bright's vocal prowess. As a gift to their descendants we all gain a better appreciation of the rich folklore of our Hawaiian home.

This album is available on CD and cassette, and distributed by Music Craft Distributors of Hawai`i. The booklet is available with the CD, and made available by mail for cassette buyers. For more information write: Generation Music, P.O. Box 813, Kane`ohe Hawai`i 96744.

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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

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