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Raiatea's Latest Album - Sea of Love


Sea of Love - Raiatea's New Album

September, 2011

Twice-Grammy® nominated international Hawaiian recording star, Raiatea Helm adds to her list of award-winning music with the release of her long-awaited solo CD Sea of Love. As a courageous "new traditionalist" of Hawaiian music, Raiatea Helm’s collection of songs in Sea of Love takes the musical stylings of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and makes them fresh through vibrant, innovative arrangements. This collection of songs draws upon the signature sounds of a bygone era in Waikiki and captures the sizzle of brushes on a snare drum and ‘sock’ cymbal, the use of maracas, congas and bongos, and the uplifting rhythms of the vibraphones, the bass, the steel guitar, and the piano. When Raiatea Helm’s sparkling vocals are placed within the energy of this effervescent instrumentation, she breathes new life to songs from a by-gone era that were once performed throughout Waikiki and known simply as "Hawaiian Club" music.




Raiatea and Band Recording Sea of Love

August, 2011

Photos: Rae Huo


Sea of Love - Liner Notes

RAIATEA HELM'S sparkling voice enthralls her global audience as she traverse the history of Hawaiian musical expression. Raiatea has distinguished herself as a courageous "new traditionalist" of Hawaiian music. She delights in retrieving Hawaiian musical gems from earlier eras and sharing them with new generations in a new century. "Hawaiian Club" enables Raiatea to embrace the Hawaiian music styling of the late 1950's and early 1960's that influenced her parents 'ohana, including her revered uncle George Jarrett Helm.

The lineage of the "Hawaiian Club" sound traces back to the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1903, Sonny Cunha incorporated the latest ragtime rhythms from the mainland United States into his orchestra's repertoire to create the hapa haole music genre at the new Moana Hotel on Waikiki Beach.

By 1920, Johnny Noble's Moana Hotel Orchestra arranged traditional Hawaiian music to trendy tempos that brought the young dancing crowd of Honolulu, as well as the visitors, thronging to the Moana Hotel Lounge and Lanai. Recognizable rhythms encouraged couples to take to the dance floor for their favorite Hawaiian mele.

For the next three decades, innovative arrangements of Hawaiian music interpreted the latest popular dance crazes from the mainland United States. With the advent of stereo recordings in the late 1950's and 1960's, the esoteric "Cocktail / Lounge / Exotica / Tiki" sound surfaced, with an accent on softer percussion. The post-Statehood 1960's also brought explosive growth to Hawai'i. As the visitor industry grew, so did the demand for Hawai'i's music. Every resort destination hotel, restaurant, lounge, and bar featured Hawaiian musicians performing live Hawaiian music. As the Elvis era gave way to Beatle mania, Hawaiian music was again influences by Western culture.

A hybrid fashion took hold in Hawai'i that featured understated percussion like the sizzle of brushes on a snare drum and "sock" cymbal, the splash of a 'crush' cymbal, the use of maracas or other subtle pulsating instruments, centered behind the bass, guitar, steel guitar, vibes, and piano. The absence of a bass kick drum even enabled hula dancers to perform. This "Hawaiian Club" sound blossomed during the early to mid-1960s.

Raiatea Helm now takes us on a musical voyage to "Hawaiian Club"


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Sea of Love Tracks

The visual beauty of
Raiatea's Sea of Love
recordings captured in the online magazine Pop IroIro
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