People around the world were first introduced to Mark Yamanaka when he released his debut album, Lei Pua Kenikeni, in 2010. Music lovers were charmed by his soaring falsetto voice and his sound, which was unmistakeably “Hilo” in nature. The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts members recognized his pure, natural talent and awarded him a staggering 4 Na Hoku Hanohano awards for his first CD release.
Those who love his music won’t be disappointed by his newest effort, Lei Maile, which builds upon his first album’s success. Mark has carefully assembled an ecclectic variety of songs for this new project, which showcase his versatility and prowess as a vocalist and musician. This sophomore album includes 5 original songs, 3 of which were penned by one of Mark’s mentors, Uncle Johnny Lum Ho. Mark co-wrote the title track, “Lei Maile,” and also composed a delightful hapa haole tune, “Maui Under Moonlight,” which is sure to engage listeners of all ages. This collection of songs also includes old favorites that haven’t been heard in years like “Beauty,” “Be Still ‘Oe,” “Ku‘u Milimili,” and Aunty Alice Namakelua’s “Hanohano No ‘O Hawai‘i.” Timeless classics like “Danny Boy” and “Kanaka Waiwai” are rounded out by a surprising but fitting choice, the Carpenter’s well-known tune, “Yesterday Once More,” featuring the beautiful vocals of Lehua Kalima.
Mark Yamanaka is a remarkable example of raw, undeniable talent embodied in a humble musician, composer and vocalist. The thousands of people that fell in love with his unique sound will embrace his newest effort, Lei Maile, and those discovering him for the first time will revel in his classic but innovative sound.