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07/11 Kanekoa
Workshop OR Concert Only $15
Workshop & Concert $25





Thursday, July 11th 6pm - 8pm

Kanekoa's ukulele-powered music grabs your ear, lifts your spirits and takes hold of your body with a fusion of island vibes, driving rhythms and pop sensibilities. Every time the Maui-based jam-band takes the stage, their improvisational blend of Hawaiian, rock, folk, blues, reggae, R&B and soul energizes the crowd – fueling the band's flourishing fandom of Koa-heads.

Kaulana Kanekoa (rhythm ukulele, lead vocals, lyrics), Vince Esquire (lead ukulele, backing vocals, sounds), Travis Rice (cajon/congas, kit, electric pads, backing vocals), and Don Lopez (u-bass, electric bass, backing vocals) have been playing together since the late 1990s. They have created a truly unique sound by embracing the yet-untapped potential of the electrified ukulele – and then taking it higher.

Inspired by the range of musical tastes of its players – and shaped by the land and culture of Hawai'i – Kanekoa delivers island fresh, innovative sets at every gig. The band's vast influences shine throughout both their original music and their interpretations of popular songs. “Kanekoa has been influenced by every thing they have ever heard – everything we've ever listened to – both individually and collectively,” said Uncle Don Lopez. When asked to describe Kanekoa's music, Uncle Don says simply: “It is American music steeped in Hawaiian tradition. Kanekoa's music can not be explained; it needs to be experienced.”

The band comes with some pretty high-profile fans, too. James “Hutch” Hutchinson, Maui-local and bassist for Bonnie Raitt, has said that Kanekoa takes ukulele music to another place. “Vince has a much different and funkier pocket than any other uke player I’ve heard or have played with,” Hutch said. 
Another Maui resident, Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood, is also a fan of Kanekoa and their lead uke-Superman. “The band is amazing,” said Fleetwood, who travels with a ukulele when on tour. “Vince is amazing. I saw him playing electric guitar years ago on Maui, and it was pretty stunning. He’s now uniquely applying all his influences, stepping out of the traditional ukulele approach. He’s great.”

Kanekoa has shared the stage and/or jammed with many top-notch talents including Willie Nelson, John Popper of Blues Traveler, Jake Shimabukuro, G Love, and 7 Walkers, which is Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzman's band. Kreutzman digs the band so much, he hired Kanekoa play his wedding – and dubbed them “The Hawaiian Grateful Dead.”

The band opened for Los Lobos on its recent Hawaiian tour, and also has played with Joan Osbourne, John Mayall, Marshal Tucker Band, John Cruz, Tavana, Eric McFadden, Ekolu, Willie K, Anuhea, Paula Fuga/Mike Love/Sam Ites, Ian Neville’s Dumpstafunk, George Porter, DJ Logic, David Nelson and many more. “These guys scare me, they are that good,” said Los Lobos's David Hildago. Renowned Hapa member Barry Flanagan concurs. “Kanekoa is the best band in Hawaii,” he said.

The members of Kanekoa also appeared with Ben Stiller in the feature film “Heartbreak Kid.” The band was cast for the film after director/producer Peter Farrelly [Oscar winner producer - "Green Book"] saw them in a bar in Los Angeles and said Kanekoa was "the best new band" he had seen in 10 years and he wanted them in his next film – and he also used two of their songs in the movie.

The band has an extensive discography – including Tales of the Fruit Stand Mystic, which won a Na Hoku Hanohano award (Hawai'i's “Grammys”). Kanekoa's new EP, Between the Sheets and Under the Covers, features fan-favorite cover songs including Busting Rock (Butch Helemanu), Ecology (Marvin Gaye), I Wanna Get Next To You (Norman Whitfield/Rose Royce), Harvest Moon (Neil Young), and the Grateful Dead's Estimated Prophet and They Love Each Other.

The essence of the band, however, is best represented on stage. Fans thrive on Kanekoa's energy, and revel in their extended jams and medley/mashups. At a recent G Love show on Maui, the band launched into the Dead's Franklin's Tower, went into Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side, segued into Joe Cocker's Feelin' Alright and back again to the Dead. Other medleys highlight their trademark fusion of Hawaiian and American rock – weaving the Allman Brothers' Whipping Post with their signature song, island original, Nahiku, a dynamic song named after a very secluded community on Maui.

Long time fans love when the band pays homage to Gregg Allman; Esquire performed with the late blues great at the Beacon Theater in New York and he recorded a song with Allman that appears on the Grammy-nominated Low Country Blues, produced by T Bone Burrnett. The album reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top Blues Albums charts.

Kanekoa comes with a pedigree indeed – the band mates are award-winning musicians, accomplished producers, and songwriters; and in addition, Vince was a child prodigy, making a name for himself across the islands before he was old enough to play in the clubs. Yet there is no pretense here; they are a great group of guys who share the love through their music. Fans say going to a Kanekoa show is like walking into your best friend's back-yard party – you feel embraced with lots of love; your mood is guaranteed to be elevated; and you leave feeling like 'Ohana.

Music Link:           https://kanekoa.bandcamp.com/

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