Record Of The Month - July 2005
The Maikai Gents Featuring the Mysterious Miss Mauna Loa - Wiki Wiki Grog Shop
A night with the Maikai Gents is like a lazy stroll on the beach where the air is warm, the sand is cool, the moon shimmers, and the breeze tickles. Everything in their music catches the right balance that the best Hapa Haole music from Hawaii always had, and they make it seem effortless and fun. I saw one of their first shows together on the lawn of the Caliente Tropics resort in Palm Springs in 2002, and still would honestly rate that as one of the nicest, most relaxing evenings I've ever spent enjoying music. After these few years playing up and down California and other states too, they've come out with a beautiful debut cd adorned by artwork from Kevin Kidney, chichiwan, and Miles Thompson. The songs are arranged and presented like one of their shows, with the host advising you to keep your eyes on the hands of the Mysterious Miss Mauna Loa. She does the singing on Pineapple Princess, the old luau number penned for Annette Funicello by Disney's Sherman brothers songwriting duo. Iuka Grogg does the lead singing on the other numbers with a clean clear voice, joined by some harmony from Mika'ele Loco Moco who also plays guitar. The tracks go from the familiar like Hawaiian War Chant and My Little Grass Shack, to less well-known but authentic tunes by the likes of Harry Owens, Hal Aloma, and Ray Kinney. Iuka's ukulele and Mika'ele's astroturf-ed guitar are the primary instruments, accented by a steel guitar here and there, with a nice little solo in My Little Grass Shack. Winding up the show is a cover of the Continental Cousins' oddball tropical twist number, Kana Kapila, and then finally if you leave it playing there's a hidden track at the end. Nicely done gents! See their website for more info.
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