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Lehua Records - Artist: Herb Ohta

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Artist: Herb Ohta
Album: Ohta-San's Pacific Potpourri
CD Id: SLCD-7005

ukulele = Play short MP3 sound clip
Track Song Title Time
1 Happiness Forever 03:36
2 Blue Silk 02:25
3 Misty Sea 02:00
4 Kawohikukapulani 02:36
5 Ku'u Ipo I Ka He'e Pu'e One 03:24
6 Pua Maeloe 02:37
7 China Doll 02:49
8 Next Door To Paradise 04:38
9 Kona Wind 02:06
10 Moon Over Ruined Castle 02:53
11 Vida 02:51
12 Volcano 02:19
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Album CoverWhen it comes to the ukulele in Hawaii (or anywhere else, for that matter), Ohta-san is ichi-ban — No. 1.

Herb Ohta—or Ohta-san, as he is most often called — doesn't say much — until he lets his fingers do the talking, via the ukulele.

Then his musical conversations tackle a number of subjects and emotions. Happiness. Love. Sorrow. Sometimes frantic. Sometimes romantic.

Like a rainbow, Ohta-san's music has a spectrum. A little of this, a little of that. And colors that are vivid, to suit many moods.

It is no accident, then, that we call this album, "Ohta-san's Pacific Potpourri." It is a reflection of Ohta-san's many worlds — his impressions of the sweeping pulse of Paradise.

His "potluck" includes four Hawaiian tunes, four Japanese melodies, one Chinese favorite, and three original compositions (one is his own). He uses three different ukes — tenor, concert and standard — to create a variety of sounds. Sometimes a classical guitar, sometimes a balalaika, sometimes an ukulele.

Backed by a battery of talented sidemen, Ohta-san yields a very contemporary — and contagious — glimpse of the vast Pacific and its vivid vibrations.

Listen, for instance, for the Oriental charms on China Doll (Yei Lan Shan). Or the haunting beauty of Japan, on Misty Sea (Wakare No Iso-Chidori), Moon Over Ruined Castle (Kojo No Tsuki), Blue Silk (Mizu-Iro No Hankachi), or Happiness Forever (li Janaino Shiawase Nara).

Hawaii calls, too — with a forceful, jazz-rock tempo on Volcano (the Ohta original), and with a more traditional calm on Pua Maeole, a tune included here as a tribute to Squeeze Kamana, for many years a respected uke artist.

There's also a breezy Kona Wind (Torque Flite), a tune penned by Japan's Seiji Hiraoka, who arranged most of the Japanese tunes on this album, and the other original ditty is Vida, a composition of Angel Pena, who performs on upright bass.

There's a "hapa-haole" treat in Gordon Jenkins, Next Door to Paradise, and more Hawaiian beauts in Ku'u Ipo Ika He'e Pu'e One and Kawohikukapulani. All, naturally, with that distinctive Ohta touch.

Some of Hawaii's finest musicians have been assembled for "Ohta-san's Pacific Potpourri." They include Paul Mark on electric piano, Jimmy Funai and Danny Otholt on guitar, Robin Paraz on electric bass, Pena on standard bass, Larry Kamaile on conga drums, Barney Isaacs on steel guitar, and Harry Chang and Peter Empenio on drums.

But delay no further. Listen, if you will, to Ohta-san. You'll agree he's ichi-ban.

—Wayne Harada Entertainment Editor, The Honolulu Advertiser

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