Teresa Bright is a consummate artist whose music is often framed in visual terms. The albums Self Portrait and Painted Tradition derive their inspiration from the world of art, and her more recent, Lei Ana, depicts her music within a frame. In another, Ka Pilina, a collage of photos portrays the relationships of the songs. Thus a gallery, a retrospective of her music from the past decade, is both musically and visually a wonderful exhibit.
The award-winning vocalist is universally recognized as one of Hawai'i top singers. The Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts has awarded her its top Female Vocalist of the Year honor. Bright has recorded many albums including Self Portrait, Painted Tradition, A Bright Hawaiian Christmas, Ka Pilina, Quiet Nights, A Christmas Season’s Delight, Lei Ana and A Gallery. Hers is a voice crystalline, sultry, ethereal, powerful, touched with jazz and a multitude of color.
She also has a huge following in Japan, where she performs often and has released Quiet Girl and Crossing the Blue on the Pioneer Record label and Pretty Eyes, from the Amuse Entertainment label. Bright has written and recorded multiple commercial jingles for Max Factor, NTT Japan, Sapporo Beer, Toyota and Japan Airlines. She also toured with popular Japanese recording stars Lisa Ono and the jazz group Gontiti.
Her beautiful voice and jazz styling captivates her Japanese fans.
Teresa Bright had been one-half of the popular group, Steve and Teresa, and in 1990, released her first solo album. Self Portrait was a huge hit, scoring the Album of the Year honor and winning Bright the prestigious Female Vocalist of the Year award. "Poliahu" was also named Song of the Year and Haku Mele (Best Song in the Hawaiian Language). Bright was then firmly established in the pantheon of Hawai'i’s premier vocalists.
Self Portrait featured Bright backed with jazz, big band and samba arrangements, as well as traditional adaptations of Hawaiian melodies. "Hawaiian Vamp," "In a Little Hula Heaven," "He Aloha No O Honolulu," and "Poliahu" are fine examples from this award-winning CD.
Painted Tradition followed, where Bright continued her love of the big band sound and infused its rhythm in several songs. "Hawaiian War Chant" is a particularly lively version, recalling the Waikiki bandmasters of the ‘30s. Her silky rendition of "Kuhio Beach," demonstrates the sultry side of the singer. And "Nani Kaua'i," which some consider her signature song, features backup vocals by the Makaha Sons. Traditional Hawaiian melodies by Johnny Almeida and Lena Machado are simply arranged to underscore Bright’s sweet voice.
In 1996, Bright collaborated with her cousin Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, to produce Ka Pilina. Hewett, an award-winning composer and noted kumu hula (hula teacher), contributed the songs and chants, with all compositions based on Hawaiian legends of their ancestors. Bright, as producer, arranged the music. Both sing, with Hewett chanting and narrating as well. The result is a wonderfully eclectic and varied album, traditional in substance, but with a contemporary aura. The jazz nuanced "Nani Wale Ku'u 'Ike O Ha'ena" and the pop flavored "Popo'alaea" exemplify the varied arrangements and showcase Bright’s remarkable voice.
From her 2001 release, Lei Ana comes "Haole Hula" and "Hame Pila." Bright paints a jazz patina on "Haole Hula." And her love of the idiom is very evident in the new recording of "Le'ahi." On the album, there are four newly-recorded numbers. "The Eating of the Poi," is a catchy, light-hearted ditty on poi eating etiquette. "Tihore Mai," relies on percussive elements in a largely a cappella arrangement, that is both haunting and evocative. The reverent "Queen’s Prayer," penned by Hawai'i’s last queen, is a fitting ending to this wonderful collection.
Together with the newly recorded ones, the songs in this retrospective stand as a gallery of artwork from this gifted singer.
Teresa Bright’s latest musical offering, Tropic Rhapsody, released in December 2008, is a collection of twelve songs from an era that perfectly fits her seductive voice and personality. As soothing and seductive as the tropic sun and the gentle trades, Teresa takes classic Hapa-Haole (English lyrics) Hawaiian songs and combines them with a perfect blend of swing, jazz and bossa nova to produce a CD that has delighted fans of Hawaiian music, new and old. The comfort of cherished standards speak to our emotions in ways that bridge gaps between music genres and old and new listeners. Tropic Rhapsody garnered a win for Best Jazz Album at the 2009 Nä Hökü Hanohano awards in June.
MOUNTAIN APPLE COMPANY
1330 Ala Moana Boulevard Suite1, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814