Category Archives: Musician

Little Albert Maligmat & Eddie Ramirez @ Tapa Bar, Hilton Hawaiian Village

I had a lot of fun watching and listening to this concert.

I arrived just a minute or two before the show began, and the duo really grew on me as the evening went on. Little Albert Maligmat on guitar and vocals, Eddie Ramirez on bass and vocals. At first, they introduced themselves by playing a couple of mellow covers, namely an Eric Clapton, nothing too over the top, just nice laid back ambiance music, ideal for couples cocktail sipping.

Progressively, both brothers began demonstrating some particularly unique skills: Eddie would play the flugelhorn with his mouth, and various other trumpets (not only was this impressive to hear, but also very interesting to watch how he would mimic the instruments), and Little Albert did vocal impersonations. Excellent!

What I found amusing is that I think Little Albert looks very much like Jackie Chan – so not only was he doing impersonations, he also looked like a celebrity. The bar eventually became quite crowded, I suppose because around 9PM/10PM it is a popular time to come and hang out at the bar, but it may also have been that the duo were catching some ears, and people were coming out to have a listen.

The duo animated their audience by getting us to clap, shout out ”Aloooooo-haaaaa!” or sing some lyrics from time to time. They also separated the audience in two and judged which side was singing better. The real cherry on the cake was when they did a cover of ‘We Are the World’, and Little Albert did all the impersonations very well, calling each one out by name before he would do it. ”Diana Ross: We are the world!”, etc. The concert sort of turned into a fun show, and their music became more and more upbeat.

They also played latin American music and Little Albert sang in Portugese. They covered numerous Christmas songs, including one of my current Hawaiian favorites ‘Mele Kaliki Maka’.

I met with Little Albert and his brother Eddie during their break – they were in such good spirits, and were very nice people. Little Albert told me he had just been inducted to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, which is great news and so I congratulated him on that. I didn’t know this before having come to the concert, but Little Albert was a previous band member of Society of Seven, a popular Hawaiian group formed in the 60s.

All in all, another surprisingly good concert – this one particularly fun and animated.

Tahiti Rey & Jason Alan @ Apartm3nt

What an absolute treat this concert was. Situated in the most chic bar I’ve been in Honolulu so far, this duo really captivated me.

Apartm3nt is a very in, trendy and lounge-y bar, where Johnny Depp has been spotted numerous times. It is very inconspicuous, situated on the 3rd floor of a somber building just outside of the city’s center. It is dark, yet cosy –  there was even a fireplace with logs burning, which added a comfortable Christmas touch to the evening. The drinks menu offered an eclectic choice of mouthwatering cocktails, and some extremely tasty wines. Gourmet food is also conveniently served until 12.30AM.

The duo were setting up when I had arrived, and began playing on time at 8PM. Both on electro-acoustic guitars and microphones. Tahiti Rey’s custom made golden glittery guitar strap caught my eye, and suited her style so perfectly. This curly haired attractive lady knows how to sing. She has a spectacular voice, a really magical presence, and covers songs in such a way that honestly gave me goosebumps. I found her voice entrancing, and thought to myself as soon as she started singing that I could stay and listen to her all night. Which is precisely what I did.

Her partner, Jason Alan, was also gifted. His guitar strumming was particularly good, and despite his illness – he admitted to having a cold and flu like symptoms and was sipping tea at the bar before playing the sets – he did a great job at singing and performing. You could hear there was a bit of a blocked nose or something sickness-related going on with his vocal chords, but you could also tell that behind that was true talent.

They were inspiring – they played a few of their own of their compositions, but mainly excellent covers. The Fugees, Bob Marley, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Adele, Coldplay, Louis Armstrong, all sorts – and beautifully each time. They took requests, and played for a couple of girls’ in the bar who were celebrating their birthdays. The time they played really flew by. They took two breaks, played three sets, and it was already 11PM by the time they had finished.

I was lucky enough to get chatting with Jason Alan, who not only is a great musician (with a Bachelor degree in Music Composition might I add), he has also a very kind spirited personality. He was fascinated by my travels, and it seemed it was really him who began interviewing me, and not the other way round! Very flattering. Despite everything, I managed to get quite a few bits of interesting info from him…

Tahiti and himself play as a duo as they share the same producer. They now have a habit of playing together. He gave me their sepia colored business card, which looks fantastic and really suits their laid-back easy-listening style.

They had just come back from the Philippines, where they were invited to play for DJ Vice’s wedding (a well-know DJ from LA). Jason told me they had an absolute blast. And during their performance last night, Tahiti introduced the song they played apparently as the couple were marching down the wedding alley to exchange vows. It was indeed a stunning song.

Tahiti and Jason play on average about 5 to 6 times a week in Waikiki, in many different bars and venues. I was not surprised to hear this, as I can understand their popularity. Jason introduced me to Rob, a friend of his who apparently is also a keen music-scene discoverer, and comes to listen to the duo every Wednesday there at Apartm3nt. He seemed very enthusiastic about me having discovered them too, and also recommend I look out for Yoza, another talented musician who is playing at the Hard Rock Café this Saturday. Great!

What else to say? I’ve summed it up: Tahiti and Jason are absolutely great. I loved their performance, and it was delightful meeting and speaking with Jason.

Their website: http://tahitireyandjasonalan.com/

Apartm3nt’s website: http://apartmentthree.com/

Jack, the indie session drummer

I got talking to Jack yesterday, a young guy who sells mochi bread and other bakery treats at some of Waikiki farmer’s markets. He explained to me that this was his part time job, and that his real occupation was being a passionate musician. Here’s a recap of our pseudo interview:

What instrument do you play? 

– You mean, how do I stay so lean and fit? The drums – I work out every night by playing several hours on them. 

Do you play in a specific band? 

– No, I’m a session musician. There are a lot of bands here in Oahu who look for drummers for their shows and concerts. I therefore play for several bands. 

When is your next show? 

– This Saturday, at Mercury bar in Downtown. It’s due to start at 9PM, but we probably won’t play until 11.30PM. 

Is Mercury bar a popular musical venue? 

– Well, actually the whole of Downtown is. A lot of people also refer to Downtown as Chinatown. In terms of creativity and musical talents, it’s where it’s all happening. 

What kind of music can one stumble across in Downtown/Chinatown? 

– Everything indie and alternative. 

Is the music scene there very different from here in the center of Waikiki? 

– Yes, very much so. Downtown caters for all the music that isn’t allowed to be played in Waikiki. Indie and alternative stuff is not touristy enough. 

Needless to say, this interview enabled there to be a different light shed upon the Waikiki music scene – it seems as though it is a bit more controlled than I had expected. It is true that I have discovered there are only three principal genres playing each night here in the center: Hawaiian, Jazz and Rock.