The fragrant aroma of the pua kenikeni lei is unmistakable; a strong, permeating scent that lingers in the hearts and minds of all those who experience it. This beautiful garland is the perfect metaphor for this captivating collection of songs assembled by Hawaiÿi’s newest solo artist, Mark Yamanaka in his debut release, Lei Pua Kenikeni.
Every tune on this album represents a blossom; each scented bud, a song recalling the poignant memories and experiences that have shaped Mark’s life. Some are classic Hawaiian melodies, a handful are new compositions by Mark’s mentors and colleagues; yet others are familiar country ballads, and one very special song was composed by Mark for his daughter. He has strung them together into this adornment of music that will imbue the soul.
Like a blossoming flower, Mark’s undeniable talent has been nurtured from a young age by renowned musician, composer and kumu hula, Johnny Lum Ho, whose traditions produced some of Hawaiÿi’s most cherished Hawaiian falsetto singers like Darren Benitez and Nā Palapalai’s Kuana Torres Kahele. Like these contemporaries, Mark’s soaring voice is also perfectly suited for the specialized art of falsetto. He takes the teachings of Uncle Johnny and adds his own flair with enviable ease, then spices things up by effortlessly gliding into a rich and soulful baritone vocal.
Mark’s hometown of Hilo, Hawaiÿi has anxiously awaited this debut album from their charming native son. Join them and behold the unforgettable music of Mark Yamanaka with Lei Pua Kenikeni.