Island Mele

Friday, November 14, 2008

By John Berger

"Aloha Kalikimaka: A Hawaiian Christmas"

Maui Jam

Here is another good choice for music to mellow out with after a stressful crawl through Christmas season gridlock and shopping mall incivility. Maui-based Island Jam celebrates the holiday with an assortment of seasonal standards played in traditional island style. The synth tracks that serve a sonic filler on several cuts aren't necessary, but they aren't overly intrusive either.

"Hawaiian Santa" and "Aloha Kalikimaka" stand out as two of the group's best numbers. Both convey the sense of friends sharing their music with friends in informal heartfelt style. Fea-B-Lei Alcomindras makes her single showcase number, a crisp and sweet rendition of "Christmas Island," particularly memorable. Pianist Fulton Tashombe is an asset to the group as well.

There's something about the group's recording of "Po La'i E" that gives the impression that two different takes were mixed together during playback, but given the "silent night, holy night" theme, the result sounds more like a dream than a recording studio error.

John Berger, who has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings produced by Hawaii artists. Reach John Berger at

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