"'Ukulele Journey" By Herb Ohta, Jr.

Herb Ohta, Jr.
“‘Ukulele Journey”

Lele Music Productions (LMPCD 1002)

2007 Hawai'i Music Awards Nominee
(Best 'Ukulele Recording)

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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Lele Music Productions
PRODUCER(S): Herb Ohta, Jr. & Charley Lukela
ENGINEERING & MIX: Charley Lukela

Nathan Aweau: Bass
Jon Yamasato: Guitar
Noel Okimoto: Percussions
Daniel Ho: Piano
Ken Lykes: Guitar
Louis "Moon" Kauakahi: Guitar
Ledward Kaapana: Guitar
David Chino Montero: Guitar
Barry Flanagan: Guitar
Michael Guerrero: Bass / Percussions
James Pilgrim: Guitar

The Honolulu Advertiser
November July 2, 2007

Review By Wayne Harada

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"'Ukulele Journey" by Herb Ohta Jr.; Lele Music Productions
Genre: 'Ukulele instrumentals.

Distinguishing notes: Uke soloist Herb Ohta Jr. is marking his 17th year as a musician, and he's easily one of the genre's most prolific. Part of his appeal is his savvy in writing or covering music that suits his romantic and intimate style, which concentrates on mood and emotion, with only a few flashy displays. He gets winning results with his gentle "Hawaiian Sky," eliciting images of sunshine and warmth; and his strumming creates word pictures of grace and peace in the Okinawan fave "Nada Sousou." And when he's in the interpretative mood, he goes to town, too, bringing the soul of Lena Machado's "Holo Wa'apa" to life for a new generation of listeners, and retaining the haunting simplicity of Louis "Moon" Kauakahi's "Kaleohano" as it tugs gently at the heart with choral interludes. "Tsunami" is a wave of a ride — with quiet eloquence; his original, "Sand Castles," also has beach orientation, and trickles with a sunny disposition.

Our take: Herbie rides again — and it's a journey for the soul as well as the ears.

The Star Bulletin
Friday September 28, 2007

Island Mele
Review By John Berger

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Maybe it's coincidence, maybe it's in the stars, but two of Hawaii's foremost ukulele virtuosos are moving in opposite directions these days. Jake Shimabukuro has reined in his penchant for electronic experimentation and is concentrating on solo acoustic recordings. Herb Ohta Jr., revered for almost two decades as a proponent of unpretentious but precise technique over showmanship, signals his move into a new phase with this beautiful collection of recordings that feature the work of guest artists.

Ohta doesn't need guests to do an album worth hearing, but they enhance his work here. Guitarist David Chino Montero adds a light melodic edge to Ohta's imaginative pop arrangement of "Waiting in Vain," Ledward Kaapana sits in on "Holo Wa'apa," and Daniel Ho is the pianist who joins Ohta on "Tsunami."

Nathan Aweau, Barry Flanagan, Noel Okimoto and Jon Yamasato also join in. No matter who the guest is, the instrumental interaction with Ohta makes each selection interesting.

The most memorable, though, is "Holo Wa'apa." Ohta has been best known for his extensive pop repertoire, but his work on "Holo Wa'apa" reminds us his command of Hawaiian standards should not be overlooked.