Ready for another round of super-uplifting world music from AOMusic? Hokulea delivers that once again, fueled by the brilliant and distinct voice of Miriam Stockley and lead instrumentalists Richard Gannaway and Jay Oliver. They’re aided by four choirs and another 11 musicians from around the world to empower this batch of energetic songs. There’s a certain similarity at work, with the jubilant tone and vocals that vary between actual lyrics–in Swahili, Indonesian, Hindi and “Polynesian”–and words invented more to catch a feeling than an actual meaning. But to that end, Hokulea becomes one big ongoing one-world party. There is variation, of course. Stockley’s silky voice opens “Kuimba” in a way that reminds me of Clodagh Simonds’ work with Mike Oldfield. Its softness contrasts with most of her contributions here, which border on soul-shakingly joyful. “Hokulea” is sung in English and begins with a sort of world-folk feel, helped along with Celtic flute. Speaking of the Celts, “Irie Grá Medley” is a jig for the new era, vibrant and catchy–and even works in a little hint of didgeridoo to spread the global love. (I do wish Gannaway & Co. had more clearly broken out who’s playing what on which tracks–proper credit is very due on this wonderful piece!) As with everything AOMusic does, Hokulea is a celebration of spirit and a call to a global one-ness. This is a message that is best heard at volume in a place where there’s room for dancing. Give in to the joy and enjoy Hokulea.
Available from the AOMusic web site.