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ALOHA GOT SOUL

The Japanese singer Aiko Sekiguchi teaming up with Dale Senaga in 1979. The pair flew from Hawaii to California to record the backing tracks at A&M Studios, returning with the reels to Commercial Recording Studio in Honolulu, where they added Aiko’s voice and Dale’s synthesizer overdubs (and Aiko resumed her residency at the Oasis nightclub).

Fly With Me is a sexy, exotic floater, crossing Love Unlimited-style two-step and West Coast AOR. On the flip, Time Machine is jazzy disco steppers, with a cosmic fizz and a light case of the Gloria Gaynors.

Progressive dub reggae from the heart of Pālolo Valley, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.

What happens when a young kid from Pālolo Valley collects and trades hip hop tapes at age five, discovers Gregory Isaacs at age 12 (then buys every release Isaacs ever made), learns to play almost every instrument, forms a punk band with his friends at 15 (soon morphing into legendary roots group Ooklah The Moc), amasses a vinyl collection of thousands of reggae rarities (rivaling only that of his father’s massive jazz collection), studies music theory under unsung hero and fellow Pālolo resident, guitarist Jimmy Funai, opens his own recording studio at the turn of the millenium to produce hundreds upon hundreds of original riddims?

Surprisingly, as one of Hawaii’s deepest diggers and most progressive musicians, Jah Gumby has yet to press a vinyl record comprised solely of his own musical works.

Also known as Ryan Murakami, the multi-instrumentalist and producer has worked extensively with artists of all walks, from low-key soulful roots singer Mr. 83 to world-renowed ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimbukuro, the in-demand Ichiban Horns powerhouse trio and longtime partner-in-vibe Kali Navales, who helped launched Father Psalms Studio in Gumby’s own home in 2003.

"Humility: The Vibes of Jah G" is both a premier and a primer of Jah Gumby’s original creations: 16 carefully selected tracks that showcase the artist’s ability to synthesize everything he embodies — the awareness of a true crate-digger, the immediacy of body surfing at Sandy’s, the intensity of punk, the sensibility of jazz, and the discipline of a studio engineer.

But enough said; we must let the music speak for itself.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Blown my beak apart this pop pickers! Who'd have thought Hawaii would give birth to a multi-faceted global reggae phenomenon... but it has!

In 1978, Nova performed for Obama. Well, kind of: Nova was the band for the Punahou School prom in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a young student named Barack (known then as “Barry”) was in attendance.
Backtrack to 1976, and Nova was the opening band for Donald Byrd at the nearby Blaisdell Arena. The day was Sunday, June 27. The following day, Isaac Hayes would perform on island for the admission price of $1.
Nova, led by singer Checo Tohomaso, was one of several go-to party bands during the golden era of Hawaii funk and soul music in the mid-1970s through early 1980s.
The band’s infectious gospel-funk-disco can be heard on their sole release, a self-titled 1980 LP that feels like one big party recorded live in the studio. (Check out the Marvin Gaye-inspired “I Feel Like Getting Down” on the 2016 ‘Aloha Got Soul’ compilation on Strut Records).
The story is all too familiar, however: funk band releases LP, the music goes dormant in years to follow, and today original copies sell for hundreds online.
Not long after the album’s 1980 release, Checo met Marvin Gaye, who was living on Maui (where George Benson also resided). Shortly after, Marvin invited Checo and his counterparts to join his multi-city tour across Europe. Videos of Checo rocking keyboards, percussion and singing background vocals for Marvin Gaye’s last European tour can be found online.
Checo, born in Florida yet raised in lush Manoa Valley as well as Okinawa, Japan, now resides in Vancouver, Canada, where he leads the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir and continues to deliver his signature sound: high energy, positive, “sweet soul” music.
AGS-7010 features two non-stop groovers with a 7” edit by Roger Bong on the A-side. LP reissue in the works!"

Hawaii's foremost musicological crew continue to do the tourist board's job for them, offering yet another incentive to visit the Pacific paradise. Digging further into the fruitful back catalogue of local funk troupe Aura, Aloha Got Soul give us a wicked white label boasting the moody and groovy instrumental "Let Me Say Dis About Dat" and the disco stomper "No Beginning, No End". Tune into the A-side for cop show guitar riffs, blaring brass (think Bernard Wright's 'Spinin') and a ceaseless funk groove. Rugged, muscular but super cool, this cut has all the qualities of a TV cop who doesn't play by the rules, but gets the job done. Over on the flip we're in roller skates and hot pants territory with the disco-funk frolic "No Beginning, No End", a masterpiece of walking bass, killer clavs and handclaps which finally spirals into psychedelic brilliance. Right on.

The latest lavish reissue on Aloha Got Soul brings to light the music of Robert Æolus Myers, featuring recordings from 1982 to 2006 that were previously available only on cassette or CD. "A Retrospective" tells the story of a man whose music elevates its listeners to a place of inspiration and enlightenment. Often ethereal, Æolus’ music is driven by synthesizers, melodic flutes, sweeping patterns, and subtle rhythms to seed inspiration from deep within the listener. One might assume that Æolus carved a new path for electronic music in Hawai‘i, but the islands never quite fully embraced the burgeoning New Age scene that Æolus found himself a part of during the 1980s and the early 1990s. Few artists in Hawaii have produced a body of work, let alone embarked on a musical journey, such as the one that Æolus has created. For Aloha Got Soul, this release marks a new chapter of bringing rare and relatively unknown music of Hawai‘i to the surface. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Aloha Got Soul shine up the orgonite and light the incense for a sublime retrospective of Hawaiian new age hero ÆOLUS. High grade healing frequencies found within!

Al Nobriga

My Last Disco Song

    A rare look into the discotheque era of Waikiki, brought to us by the best Hawaiian label going. "I wrote it about a girl I was dating, she was from New York. She loved discos. All she wanted to do was go to the disco and dance." Super limited.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    7" Info: 1 copy only!


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