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Early Hawaiian Classics
Kalamas Quartet
Early Hawaiian Classics
Genres: World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Kalamas Quartet
Title: Early Hawaiian Classics
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Arhoolie Records
Release Date: 12/2/1993
Genres: World Music, Pop
Styles: Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 096297702826, 096297702840

CD Reviews

A must for Hawaiian steel guitar fans
Val | 06/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This cd on Arhoolie Records is spectacular, the 1st ever cd devoted entirely to the classic quartet. Kalama's Quartet was during the late 20's and early 30's a popular group in the Islands, their harmonizing is GORGEOUS and their playing of duel Hawaiian steel guitars makes them unique and AMAZING! A must buy for anyone who like Hawaiian music or steel guitar, a truly wonderful CD."
The Ultimate Lo-Fi Band
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 07/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This was the third album of Hawaiian music I bought. I'm getting fidgety as I wait for my copy of the Sam Ku cd, Hawaiian Hula Blues: Acoustic Steel Guitar Masterpieces 1927-1928, so to release my pent-up Hawaiian desires I thought it'd be fun to review the lone cd devoted to this fantastic band.

It took me a while to really get them but then once they clicked with me, they clicked big time. They're one of my favorite bands. At least of the Hawaiian musics I've heard so far, Kalama's is an anomaly. 2 steel guitars, alternatingly fun and gorgeous 4-part harmonies, and a certain regal air. What I mean is... me personally, I love Sol Hoopii and King Bennie Nawahi (for instances) but I can understand why some people might not dig the kitschyness of some of their stuff. Or the occasional, ripping kazoo solo. There's nothing like that with Kalama's, though. Without ever coming across as stuffy or stifled, they just feel so pure and classy. These guys are musical royalty to me. They have serious emotional weight. They're complete. Top notch material and arrangements, killer, beautiful playing, plus they're one of my top 2 Hawaiian favorites in terms of vocals (of artists/bands I've heard thus far).

The 2 steel guitars thing continues to be a marvel to me. They're never 2 steel guitarists kinda slopping around each other or in each other's way. They both have such a distinct, lovely place within the body of the music. The guy I perceive as being more in front and just right of center... he, to me, is the soloist. The guy slightly behind, a tad high and to the left... he is the color and texture. This is such a selfless band. Everything seems to contribute to the whole. There's no jockeying for "my time to shine!". It's also interesting to note how much less powerful and important the lone electric steel track from 1935 feels. Ahhhh the power of acoustic instruments!

As for my Ultimate Lo-Fi Band review title, I can't seem to get this cd to sound the way I want it to on my main, nicer stereo system. For some reason it always seems like it's all vocals on that stereo. On my cheap bedside ghetto blaster though, or in headphones plugged into it, that's where this disc comes alive. I don't know why, but they sound perfectly balanced coming from the cheap cd player. The guitars match the level of the vocals.

The only reason I give this cd 4 stars, not 5, is that it did come out during the early '90s when serious noise reduction was all the rage. Part of me is tempted to tell people to wait until a new edition comes out, with less noise reduction, new transfers, and fuller sound but the other part of me thinks "you know what, that may never happen, so get this while you can because these guys are fantastic."
Great stuff.
Joe Sixpack -- | Middle America | 11/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A lovely album. This CD is an expanded version of a 1978 LP that led the pack in classic Hawaiian reissues, collecting recordings by one of the sweetest, most melodic Hawaiian acts of the 1920s. The Quartet's sound is distinguished by elegant four-part harmonies and the interplay of two steel guitars. Even though they worked on the mainland, a lot of their repertoire is notably old-school in comparison to their pop-oriented contemporaries; although accomplished, they have a folkloric, 19th Century feel to some of their rougher material. Acoustic revivalist Bob Brozman wrote the original record's liner notes -- and an endorsement like that should be enough to pique your interest! Recommended."