Music Review

Leokane Pryor & Friends / Home Malanai
Mountain Apple Company

One of the greatest challenges in an artist’s career is to successfully engage fans both on stage and on records, a challenge that Leoka-ne Pryor has made his gift. His latest offering, Home Malanai, is on a sentimental journey though his beloved Hawai’i as remembered from his 20 years away. We have all heard this story before, and many of us have lived it, but Pryor makes it work. Like a classic Hawaiian musician he includes a few traditional songs, but thankfully breaks the trend, offering originals like “Malaekahana” and “Ke Ho’olono Nei” insuring continuation of Hawaiian mele. Pryor’s voice is beautiful; however, there is still a young quality to its essence when compared to the greats that have come before him. Perhaps now that he has returned home for good, Pryor’s commitment to the music and land that helped him grow will in turn mature this essence, placing him among the greats where he belongs. Self-produced by Pryor, the record sounds very familiar, which is probably the point, but this quality diffuses some of the potentially great moments in the instrumentation and arrangements. The Phil Spector auto-tuned “Wall of Sound” approach in the background vocals is often times a bit much, especially on the opening cut “Ha-na no- ka ‘Oi.” The lead vocals on the other hand are so present it’s as if Pryor is singing in your lap. Together the two often seem unnecessarily apart from the rest of the band breaking the “audio glue.” The engineering on the record is successful at fitting the album perfectly into the contemporary Hawaiian genre. Ultimately, chances are good that Pryor will at least be nominated for a Ho-ku-, so be sure to go out and buy this record while it’s still on sale.–Shawn Livingston Moseley

A nationally ranked concert pianist, producer and mastering engineer, Shawn Livingston Moseley has worked in the music industry for over 20 years. Credits include Ken Makuakane, Dread Ashanti, Jeff Peterson, Metallica and Dave Matthews. More information on Shawn can be found at [shawnlivingston.com]