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Koi Au

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Album Review

Koi Au is the sophomore release from the young Makana, who spent his apprentice years learning from the likes of the Pahinuis and Sonny Chillingworth. Here, he showcases a sort of new direction for slack key guitar, as he works through some standard forms (including a slack key instrumental penned originally by Chillingworth), but also mixes in pieces of world music, with some Portuguese fado making an appearance as well as a Chinese zheng. In the opening track, he switches between slack key guitar and an open-tuned (slack key) zheng, providing a Chinese ambience while playing in a Hawaiian style. After a piece in tribute of Bali, he duets with Cyril Pahinui and follows with a solo performance of the Chillingworth instrumental. The centerpiece of the album follows soon, with the lengthy instrumental "Koi" in three movements, based in some part on a Willie K. tune. It's here that Makana shows off his full ability on slack key, running through quick passages and more emotional, slow passages with equal grace. A couple of nice Hawaiian vocal numbers continue the series, with one love song in English following them in turn. Then comes another piece of cultural fusion, as he sings a good Portuguese fado in the aptly titled "Fado" while playing a relatively upbeat slack key accompaniment. After a few more instrumental pieces, the album closes on the slightly moody electric "Far from Home." It's a full spectrum of new interpretations of the old slack key genre that Makana showcases here, and a number of interesting directions are taken. While the classic masters of slack key are outstanding in their own right, this is a worthwhile endeavor on Makana's part, and deserves at least one listen, even by the purists out there.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Hawaiian slack key guitarist Makana was born on the island of Oahu. He began singing at the age of seven. At nine, he took up the ukulele, adding the slack key guitar when he was 11 and studying with Sonny Chillingworth. He had already turned professional by the age of 14. His debut album, Makana, was released in 1999; it won the Best World Music Album Award at the Hawaii Music Awards. It was followed by Koi Au in 2002 and Ki Ho'alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key in...
Full bio
Koi Au, Makana
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  • 11,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Hawaii
  • Released: 08 October 2002

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