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Lehua Records - Artist: Kawai Cockett

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Artist: Kawai Cockett
Album: Kawai Cockett and The Lei Kukui
CD Id: SLCD-7011

ukulele = Play short MP3 sound clip
Track Song Title Time
1 Kauhale O Kamapuaa 02:50
2 Holoholo Kaa 01:36
3 Kiss & Never Tell 01:57
4 Molokai Waltz 03:16
5 E Nakini 01:50
6 Venus 02:06
7 Lei Kukui 02:51
8 O Lanakila 02:05
9 Keaukaha Hula 03:00
10 Oni Aka Moku 01:42
11 My Mother's Eyes 03:05
12 Pualasana 02:22
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Album CoverKawai Cockett is always among the first named when native Hawaiians, including professional entertainers, are asked to list Hawaii's best singers. This makes him a Hawaiian's Hawaiian and an entertainer's entertainer. Yet, as one Island newspaper critic says, for many years Cockett has been a relatively "unsung big talent" on the local commercial entertainment scene.

Most Islanders know Kawai best as a long-time Aloha Week chanter, a kahuna who's blessed the State Legislature session openings, and an authority on Hawaiian music, dance and lore. That he possesses a resonant, rich, natural Hawaiian voice is not as widely known, but that will become quickly apparent to anyone listening to this "Lei Kukui" album.

The well-varied selections are an excellent showcase for the Cockett talent and personality, ranging from serious-sentimental to fun-loving bounce. Among the numbers are "Molokai Waltz," "My Mommy's Eyes," "Pualasana," "Holoholo Kaa" and others.

"On record" with Kawai's singing and lead ukulele-playing are the Lei Kukui Serenaders—Melvin Mahuiki on "left-hand" guitar (Cockett's description), Charles Morton, guitar, and Robert Paaluhi, bass.

Cockett's professional bookings include appearances at the Prince Kuhio, Ilikai Canoe House, Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Room, Caesar's, Imperial Hawaiian Hotel and in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Vietnam. During the day he is an education assistant at Pohukaina School, teaching Hawaiian music to handicapped children.

Before becoming a full-time entertainer, a few years ago, Cockett spent more than 12 years in airlines and hotel catering. "Lei Kukui" is his second album. With its release, plus ever-increasing public exposure to his impressive voice and style, Kawai Cockett should be leaving behind forever his days of being an "unsung big talent." (His first album: "Beautiful Kauai.")

A special MAHALO to Victor Rittenband, composer of "Lei Kukui."

-Scoops Casey Kreger (1974)

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