LINER NOTES - Etc.
The longwinded introduction to All In...
In my best Monty Python voice: “And Now for Something Completely Different…”
Ever since I was a kid, I loved listening to instrumentals. From Henry Mancini’s epic themes to the film scores of John Williams… surf guitar riffs of the Ventures to the blazing guitar work of Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani- I’ve always loved listening to and playing instrumental music. I’ve been writing instrumental stuff for a while and had always intended on recording an albums worth of selections. For a song with no lyrics to have an identifiable verse, chorus, solo-and more importantly, to be able to evoke emotion without the use of words-was something I always found very powerful.
And then… My last release, …With Aloha, was in 2009. I’d taken some time off to pursuit a few other adventures and occupations all the while intending to start the new project in 2011. Well, as cosmic and galactic intervention strikes at the most inopportune times, in order of throat cancer, divorce and a few other curveballs that hit. If there was such a thing as Year of the Personal Life Roadkill, that would’ve summed up my 2011 and 2012. Needless to say, recording was the last of my concerns.
Unexpected inspiration… While 2011 was the start of a couple of years of turmoil, it was also a source of inspiration. March 11, 2011 was the day that forever changed Japan. The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami really changed my outlook on life and my own condition. In April 2011, I had the opportunity to travel to some of the worst hit areas in the Tōhoku region. My band and I had the opportunity to perform at a number of the shelters there and to film for a television show I produce that features life in Japan (Doko Ga TV). Filming there and spending time with Tōhoku survivors was life changing for me.
Onward and Upward… Since 2011, while continuing to film and perform in Japan-whenever possible, I’d visit and volunteer in the Tōhoku area. I’d perform with the ‘ukulele since it was easy to travel with, and more so because people (especially children) seemed to have a special affinity for the uke. Also, I started doing more and more instrumental stuff as well, as my vocal range diminised as a result of my condition.
Two weeks... TWO WEEKS?!?! In 2013, I told myself I was going to finally record an instrumental CD. I started practicing the songs I wanted to record and finished composing the original ones. All of the tracks selected on the album were performed during my time there in the Tōhoku area. I’d mentioned to a few promoters I worked with in Japan that the CD would be out this year. Well, apparently they thought it would be out in April, during my Japan Golden Week tour. They’d advertised it and everything. So, in two weeks time, All In was recorded and duplicated and it arrived the day before taking off for my Japan Golden Week tour. For each of my group’s albums, I’ve always tried to include extensive liner notes, lyrics and pictures. This time round, unfortunately, I literally had two weeks to get this CD together recorded and had to bite the bullet on having an ‘extensive’ booklet. I was bummed. So, the complete liner notes are here! If you’d like a PDF copy emailed or snail-mailed to you, email the request on my contact form and I’ll be more than happy send one out to you.
Pali Ka‘aihue - ‘Ukulele, Guitar
Will Yokoyama - Bass Guitar
Jenn JROQ Wright - Percussion
Kapono Na'ili'ili - Guitar
Josh Kaye - Keyboards
Von Baron - Drums
Produced by: Matt Honda & Pali Kaʻaihue
Recorded by: Matt Honda
Graphics & Photography by: Michael Horton
©PK Records Hawaii
Mahalo to my sponsors
All In Liner Notes
By Lea Uehara:
All In is quite a departure from Pali’s previous albums with the band, PALI. He wanted to do something presenting ‘ukulele on a silver platter of sorts. But this is not the `ukulele music you’re used to, think: Jeff Beck or Joe Satriani meets the ukulele. Dazzling, high energy tracks share the stage with contemplative compositions layered with some of his favorite instrumental pieces, showcasing the diversity of ‘ukulele as a lead instrument (Side A’s tracks 1 – 7) and as a rhythmic instrument (Side B’s tracks 8 – 10). All In showcases Pali’s virtuosity and creative skills on this diverse instrumental CD.
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Rising – Originally composed by rock-shamisen duo, the Yoshida Brothers, Rising has been one of my favorite songs hands-down. I adopted it for ‘ukulele, and tried wherever possible to have the uke mimic the timbre, attack and tone of the three stringed Japanese instrument, the shamisen.
Since adapting to ‘ukulele, Rising was something near and dear to my heart since performing it in the Tōhoku shelters. For me, Rising was the perfect song to represent resilience and strength of the people there.
Affirmation – Composed by Jose Feliciano, and made very popular by George Benson, Affirmation has been a jazz fan favorite over the years.
When choosing to do Affirmation, I wanted to perform it with way of giving the uke a bit of warmth and slight talking characteristic. I used a wah pedal to meet the challenge and give the ‘ukulele a warmer tone.
Ray of Light (希望の光) – As the events unfolded on the news about the devastation in the Tōhoku region, I wanted to compose something that could symbolize hope admist all the turmoil. Ray of Light was the result and I was so honored to be able to share thing song at the very first shelter I was able to visit in the Sendai area a month after the devastation took place.
All In – Aka the rock ‘ukulele anthem original. I’d wanted to write something that was a bit more rock and driving as the theme of being “All In” in everything you do-to do your best. In life, business, work, play with friendships and family-- I was always taught to do my best, and when I think I have-try to do even more. During a stretch of severe life lessons in 2011-2012, All In was a reminder to myself about what I was taught. After finally getting out of the turmoil and when deciding to do an instrumental album, I knew immediately this would need to be the title of the album.
Mediterranean Sundance – I’ve always been a fan of flamenco music and classical guitar. The first time I’d seen Al Dimeola, Paco De Lucia and John Mclaughlin perform Mediterranean Sundance-- I was sold. I wanted to see if it was possible to translate this nylon six-string piece to the ‘ukulele and the final arrangement was finished the night before going into the studio to record it. I use the intro, outro and first two sections of the original version and then composed the final two sections. As I was always a fan of the two-hand-tapping technique, the fourth and final section is a descending six-finger array of notes leading to the song’s signature outro.
Cliffs of Dover – composed by Eric Johnson, during my guitar-rock and fusion phase, this was by far, the hardest song for me to learn how to play on electric guitar. Not even counting the incredible solos and blistering leads in the song, the song’s feel and note selection is recognizable to musicians across the globe.
One of the reasons I decided to do this song, was because brothers Paul and Alan Okami from Koaloha ‘Ukulele Factory asked if it was possible to do Cliffs of Dover on the uke. I said I didn’t know, but probably not. So, as a challenge to myself, I started trying to learn the song and adapt it for ‘ukulele. Now, losing a couple of strings from electric guitar to the uke didn’t help either. But in learning this adaptation (and I use adaptation as this is nowhere a note for note translation of the song), it really helped me get a better grasp of ‘ukulele as a whole and forced me to really commit to the instrument.
Mana – Mana is an original etude, using two-hand-tapping technique. Fingers on both hands hold a chord shape and tap out the outlining note melody. I placed Mana as the last track on the CD’s ‘Side A’ (yes, a throwback to cassette/album days) as a bookend to the songs that feature ‘ukulele as a lead instrument.
I wanted to include a few originals that also reflect the fact that I’m a guitarist as well, with the ‘ukulele featured as a rhythmic instrument.
Supey Aloha – I wrote this slack key song for my crazy chihuahua, Supey. Supey was adopted/rescued from a puppy mill. He was so tiny that when you put him in your hand, his front paws would point forward and back ones point backward-like he was flying. Naming him Superman seemed a bit over the top so Supey was chosen. Due to his malnourishment, Supey required a lot of care and hospital stays. Thankfully after his first year, he was healthy, happy while being a little terror. When Supey was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, the fifth dog in the US to have contracted this type of cancer. Supey passed before making 4.
I wrote Supey Aloha as a tribute to this cute, lovable holy terror of a chihuahua who I dearly miss
Love – This one of the first instrumental acoustic songs I’d written. What is love? How do you describe love without the use of words? I thought about that a lot and figured since love is a feeling, try and compose something that symbolizes what it feels like to me.
Keli‘i Slack Key – I wrote this song for a childhood friend of mine. We’d always get into so much trouble as a pair of kolohe (Hawaiian for rascal) kids and created adventures normally in places we weren’t supposed to be in. Keli‘i and his family moved to Maui and I was always so fond of my summertime memories hanging out with him and his ‘ohana.