Keola & Kapono Beamer
(Cord International / Hana Ola)


Back in 1990, while in Hawaii, I purchased a CD from Hawaiian guitarist Kapono Beamer entitled Secrets Under The Sun. As the owner then of Breakthru’ Records—a label that specialized in state of the art guitar music—I was stunned and excited by the music of Kapono's album and I even contemplated releasing it to a bigger audience, if only my distributors didn’t conspire to put me out of business! Mixing traditional Hawaiian slack key guitar—also known as ki ho’alu—with a modern New Age, meditative vibe, that instrumental Hawaiian album classic inspired me to contact Kapono and we stayed in touch for quite a few years after that while I discovered the wealth of great music he recorded as a solo artist as well as albums made with his brother Keola Beamer, who has also developed quite a name for himself as a solo artist. Looking back on their early albums and music making together, Cord International Records has done a great job reissuing their very first album as the duo Keola & Kapono Beamer. Simply entitled Hawaii’s Keola & Kapono Beamer, Cord’s late 2008 CD release is a fine reissue of their late ‘70s debut classic. Compared to the instrumental New Age vibe of Kapono’s Secrets album, Hawaii’s Keola & Kapono Beamer shows just how great these brothers were as a singing sensation. They were like Hawaii’s version of the Everly Brothers! Cord has done a great job reissuing this Hawaiian music classic complete with new and original album liner notes and full credits. Also released on Cord, one of their Tradewinds Records reissues, is a 2009 CD release of a real vintage looking album from Hawaiian ukulele great Harry Kalahiki, entitled Mungo Plays Ukulele. The ‘uke is a favorite instrument of Hawaii and the gentle strains of this classic acoustic instrument sounds great in the hands of Kalahiki. Interestingly, Kalahiki had chosen a number of song classics that he performs instrumentally with subtle backing including classic tracks composed by Kurt Weill, Debussy and others topped off by his acoustic instrumental ukulele medley of America’s fighting song anthems like “Over Hill, Over Dale,” “Anchor’s Aweigh,” and more. Harry makes you feel real patriotic! Another one of Cord’s vintage Hawaiian Tradewinds Records reissue is a 2009 release of Ukulele Stylist from Hawaii’s uke great Nelson Waikiki. Called the greatest ukulele player of all time, Nelson fulfills his mission on an instrumental album that features a number of Hawaiian and Polynesian classics including fresh takes of song classics like “Never On Sunday,” “Misty” and “Caravan.” Slack key guitar fans will also want to take a listen to Slack Key Tradition, first released in 1996 and reissued in 2008 on Cord’s Hana Ola Records. This 17 track all instrumental slack key collection features the music of four distinctive Hawaiian acoustic guitar masters—Gary Haleamau, Elmer Lim, Robert Keli’iho’omalu Jr. and Nolan Ha’o. Cord’s 2008 CD release of Slack Key Tradition is simply one of the great instrumental collections of the last two decades. Put it on and turn on the lava lamp. It’s like visiting the 49th state without leaving your living room. For the latest and greatest music from Hawaii take a look at Cord’s extensive catalog, all featured on their web site.


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