Wayne Harada’s Review

From the HonoluluAdvertiser.com Wayne Harada Column entitled, “Manoa DNA takes you home again”…

Distinguishing notes: Manoa DNA is a family trio comprised of brothers Alex and Nick Kawakami and their dad, Lloyd. Its homespun acoustic music reflects a bond and kinship hard to miss, easy to appreciate. It’s Hawaiian-style party music, to enjoy with friends and family; it’s a songbook that reflects the ‘aina and the people.

There are versions of Palani Vaughan’s train-chugging “Ka’a Ahi Kahului” and Cecilio and Kapono’s “Lifetime Party” and fond interpretations of Island favorites such as “Ka Nohona Pili Kai (Nada Sousou),” from Keali’i Reichel’s repertoire with original Japanese lyrics.

The trio offers inventive, playful listening; its work is gentle, gracious and from the heart. The vocal (as well as cultural) blends are not yet so identifiable that you’ll shout “Manoa DNA” on first hearing, but rest assured, the tones and themes are blessedly simple and soothing. If radio supports the remake of “Ka Nohona Pili Kai (Nada Sousou),” the group could have a hit, despite the lengthy (5:42) running time, as the Kawakamis put their DNA on some familiar fare.

This is the group’s second album in which folk music style and harmonies dominate (check out “Before I Knew Your Name” and “Fire & Rain”). And the cover of Mackey Feary & Kalapana’s “The Hurt” typifies the nifty tribute/reinvention — for a new generation of listeners. Ditto, the hula-hip revival of “Hualalai,” with its contagious syncopated tempo.

Our take: “Home” is where the heart is, and Manoa DNA gets to the heart of the Island spirit.”

Thanks Wayne for the great review. Check out our Discography Page for information on where you can pick up your copy of Manoa DNA’s second album, “No Place Like Home”