Musician Patrick Landeza has been playing Hawaiian music for years, so it was great to see a new album from him come in the mail. Upon opening the CD, I saw an older photo of him with my uncle, the late Raymond Kane, considered a major influence for a generation of slack key (ki ho’alu) guitarists. It’s the old house out in Nanakuki, the dining room I spent many hours in, with the stereo to my uncle’s right with loads of religious records I had no interest in, but one of my cousins (either Faith or Moana had the first Janet Jackson album on 8-track. Aaah, good times, and that’s exactly what I hear on Ku’u Honua Mele (My Music World) (Addison Street), an album full of music that brings back my childhood, my hanabata days, what I grew up knowing as “da good kine” Hawaiian music. Landeza’s playing here comes from not only a love for the music, but from the countless musicians he has learned from throughout the years, some of which are displayed in the photo collage inside. This is the music you’d play when you made the long journey around the island, this was the music your mom would play as she cleaned house on Sunday, or the music your dad might play when he was fixing his car or bicycle underneath the house, which was really an excuse to get away from your mom for an hour or two, and this was that “relief” music. Songs like “No Keaha”, “Hanalei Moon”, “Nani Ko’olau”, and “Maori Brown Eyes” are sure to bring back memories for those who feel fondly for the originals, or for those who still feel a closeness to the places described in the titles and songs.
If you are a lover of Hawaiian songs, this is “chicken skin music”, at least to me it is. The guitars, the ‘ukulele, the bass, and the vocal harmonies just sound perfect, and I go back to a time when life felt like this, without worry or care. As an older man, I long for a time to be able to feel like that. At least in music form, I’m brought back to a much simpler time, or perhaps it’s a type of music that needs to dominate a much rougher world than it was in our hanabata days. Mahalo nui, Patrick Landeza.