Mailani gives fresh voice to the ‘aina
I’m not a music reviewer, but I enjoy passing along new releases that resonate with me and Mailani fills the bill with her new album “‘Aina” (Mountain Apple, $15.98; iTunes, $9.99).
I seldom find an album on which I really like every single cut, but it happened with her debut solo CD “Mailani,” and “‘Aina” does it again as Mailani moves easily between the traditional and the modern.
Highlights include Jon Osorio and Randy Borden’s “Hawaiian Eyes,” a moving “Kaula ‘Ili” with her Papa talking story over the music, “Ka Nani o Kā‘ena,” an original she wrote with Keola Donaghy, a soaring “Tewe Tewe,” Robert Cazimero’s “Pane Mai” and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
She doesn’t bring much new to “Yesterday” over the Paul McCartney version except a verse in Hawaiian, but it’s a beautiful song that fits her strong voice.
That voice is what makes Mailani’s recordings special, and it’s nicely highlighted with simple arrangements and backup — mostly herself on guitar, Trey on ukulele and guitar, Seann Carroll on percussion and Shawn Ishimoto on bass.
Mailani has been around since she formed the popular duo Keahiwai in high school, and with “‘Aina” she’s hit full stride. See for yourself with the video of “He‘eia,” one of the cuts from the CD.