"With this collection of Hawaiian language and hapa haole songs, Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm of Moloka'i takes her vocals "one whole step higher." For those of you who are musical, the highest note she sings is the A above high C. If you listen to "Far Away Heaven" and then this one, you'll definitely hear a difference in her voice. On this CD, it's much deeper, louder, and more mature. Highlights include "'Alika," the Aunty Genoa Keawe hit, "Kalama Ula" with her father Zachary Helm, "Hu'i E" with Aunty Genoa herself, "Haole Hula" with Keali'i Reichel, and a cover version of the jazz standard "At Last." A recommended CD for fans of Raiatea and other Hawaiian musicians, especially female falsetto singers!"
Stunningly beautiful, facile voice
Kevin McMurtry | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was on vacation on the Big Island in July 2005, and her song Kalama 'ula came on the radio. I called the radio station the next day and garbled my way through what I thought her name was. I also mentioned when I'd heard the tune. They checked their log and said something like, "Oh, yeah. It was Raiatea. She's awesome." I thought so too and bought the CD the next day. I'd expected her to be much older than she is given the maturity of her voice and phrasing, but she looks about twenty on the cover photo. I should mention that I've never owned Hawaiian music before and know next to nothing about it -- I was simply bowled over by her talent and still am after listening to the whole CD several times now. The purity of her voice and the seemingly effortless way she guides it over the undulating terrain of Hawaiian words and melodies are remarkable. That said, my one criticism of "Sweet and Lovely" is that a number of the up-tempo songs sound very much alike to my ear. That's probably just because up-tempo Hawaiian tunes are built similarly -- the way rock was built on 1-4-5 chord progressions over a 2 and 4 backbeat. But that's a minor criticism and in no way changes the real reason to buy this CD, which is that magnificient voice of hers."
Unbelievable Female Vocalist!!!
L. Uyeno | Los Angeles | 01/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Raiatea Helm is right up there with my best and favorite female vocalists....like Nora Jones, Diana Krall, Anita Baker, Joss Stone, Sade, Alicia Keyes, Rickie Lee Jones, etc.
I like ALL the songs on this album. This doesn't always happen. As mentioned by Alexandra below Raiatea's first album 'Far Away Heaven' is a very good first effort but this, her second album, is much better. But, I'm saying this for a different reason than Alexandra.
Raiatea's voice and singing on her first album is every bit as good as on her second album...but, it's the producing, arrangements, and engineering that aren't as good. Her first and second albums are produced, arranged and engineered by different people.
The first album's mixed with too much electric bass. It's way too bass heavy. Also, and more importantly, Raiatea's voice on the first album isn't as forward as on her second album. 'On Far Away Heaven' it sounds like she's singing *behind* the band. Also, there's too much reverb on her voice. It sounds like she's singing in a cave. Still, her first album is worth getting. My favorite song on 'Far Away Heaven' is track #5 "Kauoha Mai".
On 'Sweet and Lovely' Raiatea not only sings but plays the ukulele too! Something she didn't do on her first album. In fact, as I understand it she took up the ukulele before she took up singing. On the upbeat "?lika" and the lilting "Kalama'ula" she holds notes longer than I can hold my breath! And her singing on 'Ku'u Home Aloha'...all I can say is WOW! Her duet with Aunty Genoa Keawe (Keh-Ah-veh) on "Hu'i ?" is simply classic...a passing of the Hawaiian music torch from the older generation to the younger..."
Incredible voice !!!!!!!!
Phredd | Hawai`i | 04/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This youngster is going to go places in the music world! It is rare to hear such a refined voice in one so young, let alone to be so blessed as to record with Aunty Genoa Keawe and Kealii Reichel. Raiatea is a beautiful example of hawaiian living and her voice is equally as lovely as the island she grew up on. "Sweet and Lovely" is as good a description of the woman as it is of her music. If you love good music buy this album, you will not be disappointed."