Traditional gig amplifiers are large, heavy and donʻt sound that good at low volume. Over the years I have spent a lot of time and a lot of money looking for a good practice amp that can produce great sound at low volume. Voila!
The Positive Grid Spark amp fits the bill perfectly. It is small but powerful and sounds great at any volume. It has a basket full of amp models and effects and can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker. Everything can be controlled from the free app. And at 40w it can be used for jamming and some small gigs.
So of course, we jumped at the chance to see in person an array of Hawaii’s greatest musicians at the concert titled “Henry Kapono & Friends”held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.
These concerts are part of Henry’s passion to perpetuate his love of local music and musicians. In addition to the Island-wide concerts, Henry has established the Henry Kapono Foundation to support music programs for keiki (children), and provide career guidance and performance opportunities for emerging musicians, as he states on his site.
So what’s new in Hawaiian music? Kalani Pe’a, is what’s new. This Grammy winning artist takes Hawaiian music and some pop covers, adds some unusual chords and progressions and creates something beautiful and different.
Usually when going to listen to Hawaiian artists perform, I expect great musicians, maybe sitting, playing and talking story. Kalani, however, adds a touch of Broadway to his performance. His stage presence is amazing, and the Hawaiian language just flows effortlessly made more beautiful by his powerful voice. The backup musicians, vocalists and hula dancers that perform on stage with him just make his performance that much better. Each of them an outstanding talent in their own right.
One of the things we were looking forward to when we moved back to Maui was the wealth of great talent. Little did we know that we would be living next door to this amazing Grammy winning artist.
If you haven’t heard of Jake Shimabukuro, well then, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jake came to prominence in 2006 with his heart pounding rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” performed in Central Park.
We discovered Jake at the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum while wandering through the stringed instrument exhibit where his performance was being shown on a large video screen. And as fate would have it, we soon got to see him perform live on Maui at The Maui Cultural Center. Rock-n-Roll ukulele. Amazing!
Jake is to the ukulele what Eric Clapton is to the guitar!
If you get a chance to see him, don’t pass up the opportunity. Here is his official website and touring schedule: jakeshimabukuro.com
Without a doubt, The MIM is one of the crown jewels of Phoenix. There are so many instruments and costumes to see and experience from around the world that it is impossible to see them all in one day. We were only able to experience two of the exhibit halls on our visit. We chose the USA Gallery and the Artists Gallery.
One of the best displays is of the Steinway Piano Factory. You can enjoy a wonderful video and see first hand, a breakdown of all the major component parts of a Steinway.
There was also a wonderful exhibit of the manufacturing process for Martin Guitars and an extensive exhibit of Fender musical instruments.
Downstairs in the Artists Gallery Hall is the piano on which John Lennon wrote the iconic song “Imagine”. Other great displays included Women in Jazz, Country artists, Hip Hop artists, Pop stars and so much more.
And, of course, there is the gift shop featuring a wide variety of music related items and jewelry from around the world.
The Cafe Allegro serves a variety of international dishes, snacks and beverages.
If you live in Arizona or are visiting, The MIM is a must!