Ukulele Benefit Show: An Evening w/ Kanekoa
You may remember Kala Artist Kanekoa from their Kala HQ visit back in 2018. That’s when we first touched base with the band and their unique, genre-bending & ukulele-infused style.
Despite the setbacks of 2020, the band has continued their career hot streak with a successful digital benefit concert broadcast just this past week from their home island of Maui. Adapting to the challenges of our times, the band, with a sound described by some as “ukulele powered Hawai'ian reggae folk rock,” was determined to recreate their vibrant live sound in digital form for their fans from the Hawaiian Islands, the California Coast and beyond.
“Recreating in a digital format, we worked hard on getting the right sound,” explained Rick Davis, the band's manager. “Our bass player [Don Lopez] helped design a program that reproduced an almost studio-like sound quality while streaming.”
The show featured the band’s line-up of staple Kala instruments and U-Bass, including Vince’s Solid Flame Maple Tenor, Kaulana’s 6-String Cedar-Top Tenor, and Don Lopez’ Acoustic-Electric U•BASS. The evening’s setlist expressed a range of styles and musical traditions, from a timely rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” and their own crowd favorites: “Bustin’ Rock” and "The Wall." To conclude the evening, Kala gave away three satin mahogany ukuleles to three lucky winners watching from home!
More than just a night of entertainment, the evening served as a benefit and fundraiser for its venue: the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku, Maui. “The band has played many gigs there and it always feels special,” said Rick. “To the band it is important as it is so rich in entertainment history. It has sloped seating, offering a great view from every seat. It has great acoustics, stage and lighting.”
As a live-streamed performance, the concert is now archived on both the Kanekoa and Kala Facebook page and serves as an ongoing fundraiser for both the band and the venue.
Looking to the future with enthusiasm, Kanekoa will be working with 5X Grammy winner Steve Berlin of Los Lobos to help develop their next record.
To see more Kanekoa, check out their Kala Artist profile, as well as the U•BASS Artist Profile for Kanekoa bassist Don Lopez.