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Po'okela Chants

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Album Review

Po'okela Chants is the solo debut from Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu, the semi-modern hula chanter from Oakland that's made a name for himself in the mainstream through work on the Lilo and Stitch soundtrack. Here, he works through a number of hula chants, traditional and contemporary, essentially all done in solo chant form with an ipu or pahu drum accompanying, and a small group of vocalists that help out for the choruses now and then. The instrumentation is entirely traditional as such, as is the basic song structure throughout. There is a small period of experimentation, where a bit of guitar and synthesizer appear in the background, but luckily for the listener, that ends relatively quickly. The chants are entirely energetic, using a driving beat and the occasional shout to punctuate a run. His abilities as a chanter are really the treat for the listener here, as he moves flawlessly from one chant to the next, changing rhythms mid-song and holding the listener's attention for the duration. The song topics range from the basic traditional dances, to Hawaiian mythology, to King David Kalakaua (the first king to visit America), who takes up roughly half the album in tribute songs. Translations of the songs appear in the liner notes to help the listener who doesn't speak traditional Hawaiian (most listeners, that is), but the lyrics are almost unnecessary, as the music holds a thick ambience of its own. With the lyrics it becomes an outstanding work of traditional Hawaiian music, hailing from before the age of slack keys and ukuleles.

Customer Reviews


Okay im part hawaiian and of course i love hawaiian music but this guy is so cool. he is so good at hawaiian i even bought the albums!!! this guy is awesome!!!! i definitly reccomment buying some of these songs. I mean its different than any other kind of songs u would listen to, surre all the songs look the same but they all actually do have different beats. its hard to tell but they do. and even if they do i still like them a whole bunch!!!


Mark is the best chanter!!! Like people say he ROCKS!!! im glad im dancing with he's academy!!!!

Po'okela Chants

I concur, he is the best thing to have happen to the Hawaiian Music scene, he is unique and edgy which is why whenever his group performs at Merrie Monarch, it brings the house down!!! Love it - your number 1 Fan!!!


Genre: World

Years Active:

Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu is a strong point in the otherwise largely overlooked field of traditional hula chanting. His early work consisted of local hula and Polynesian shows around his home island, eventually moving up the ranks in another hula halau (school), gaining a good deal of experience in traditional chanting. Within a few years, he was teaching at a halau in San Francisco under Tiare Clifford, taking over a nearby halau in Oakland ten years later, which became a major contender in the worldwide...
Full Bio
Po'okela Chants, Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu
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Customer Ratings