Ukulele virtuoso Taimane delights . . .

. . . with new CD ‘Elemental’ and soon-to-be released video

Ukulele virtuoso Taimane’s concert scheduled for Saturday has been canceled. Tickets purchased with a credit card will receive a full refund back to the card used for purchase. Tickets purchased with cash will need to be returned to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s box office for a full refund. For more information, call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org. Kim Taylor Reece photo

A phenomenally talented ukulele virtuoso, Taimane has developed a flamenco-inspired strumming technique that is breathtaking. In concert, her hands often blur in motion as she passionately strums while dancing around the stage.

It’s an intoxicating experience both visually and aurally that has blown away audiences both nationally and abroad.

The Taimane concert scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului has been canceled due to unforseen circumstances. Her band is unable to perform with her. She hopes to reschedule in November.

In March, she performed before an audience of 20,000 during the halftime of a Los Angeles Clippers basketball game, and she’s also performed before thousands at a sold-out concert at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater with Michael Franti.

“The bigger the audience, the better,” she says. “I don’t get nervous, I just get excited and want to be on the stage for as long as possible. I’ve always been like that.”

Husband and wife team, Winston Choi (left) and Minghuan Xu perform as Duo Diorama in a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Makawao Union Church. Photo courtesy Ebb & Flow Arts

About to release her new CD “Elemental,” Taimane’s previous recording, “We Are Made of Stars,” featured a set of intriguing instrumentals that paid homage to our solar system’s planets.

“Elemental” continues her exploration of the natural and metaphysical worlds. Inspired by a dream, the recording features original, primarily instrumental songs for each element (“Water,” “Fire,” “Air,” “Earth” and “Ether”), as well as two mythology-related songs, “Hades” and “Atlantis.”

” ‘We Are Made of Stars’ was an introduction to this (metaphysical) realm,” she explains. “I’ve always felt connected to it. When I was 11, I got into Wicca, pagan traditions, and being connected to nature. So I’m reaffirming that, and having my music speak for that.”

More than two years in the making, the project began in 2015 when Taimane was invited to create a new theatrical program and present the show at the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu. She plans to present this theatrical show on the Mainland and across the islands in 2019.

“Being born and raised in Hawaii, it’s hard not to be inspired by the nature around me — earth, wind, fire and water,” she continues. “I like the spiritual side of things, so I have a song about ether, which is the fifth element in Greek mythology, and Hades is the underworld.”

Taking us on a wondrous journey, her musical influences include passionate Spanish-Gypsy flamenco on “Fire,” and classical baroque on “Ether,” while the delicate “Air” is flavored with bird song. The most dramatic track, “Earth,” finds her spotlighting her lovely voice on lyrics espousing respect for nature.

Most recently, Taimane became part of the Playing for Change family of artists who record and film videos that benefit music education around the world. A live performance of her song, “Pluto — King of the Underworld (Hades),” was recorded in Ka’a’awa Valley on Oahu.

“I’m on a new music video, ‘The Weight,’ with John Cruz,” she says. “I can’t wait to see it. They put musicians from all around the world together.”

Moved by the plight of folks displaced by the ongoing lava eruption on Hawaii Island, at the beginning of June she flew over “to share music at ‘The Hub,’ a place near Leilani Estates where families were going for refuge.

“Seeing these kiddies faces and receiving a lei from them was a life changer for me.”

Taimane’s album “Elemental” is now available on Amazon, as well as iTunes and other streaming services. The Playing for Change video of The Bands’ song “The Weight,” featuring Taimane, will be released shortly.

*****

At 10 p.m. Friday, at the Maui Film Festival at Wailea’s Celestial Cinema, you can catch the British comedy, “Happy Birthday, Toby Simpson.” Winner of the Best Feature Film and Best Leading Actor at the British Independent Film Festival, this feel-good drama focuses on a frazzled business man whose stolen wallet leads him to a rural music festival joined by a Czech aromatherapist.

Filmed at the End of the Road Festival in Wiltshire, U.K., the soundtrack is packed with music by up-and-coming British bands like An Horse, Family Jools, Chay Snowdon, Lia Ices and Fly Golden Eagle.

On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Castle Theater at the MACC, the festival will screen the environmental documentary “Living in the Future’s Past,” produced and narrated by actor Jeff Bridges. The Santa Barbara Independent proclaimed: “Director Susan Kucera has achieved something masterful.”

The soundtrack features music by Keefus Ciancia who has performed and recorded with artists including MeShell Ndegeocello, Elton John, Sting, Elvis Costello, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam.

* For tickets or information, visit www.mauifilmfestival.com, or call 579-9244 or 579-9996.

*****

Presented by Ebb & Flow Arts, Chicago-based Duo Diorama, featuring husband and wife team violinist Minghuan Xu and pianist Winston Choi, will perform a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Makawao Union Church.

These versatile musicians are known for performing an eclectic mix of musical styles, ranging from the great standard works to the avant-garde, and are considered experts in modern music. They have performed extensively throughout North America, South America and Europe.

The concert ranges from Ives’s “Second Sonata,” composed in the early 20th century, to quite recent works by Gilad Cohen and Stephen Blumberg from the 21st century.

One of the pieces on their program, Elliott Carter’s “Duo,” fulfills a commitment to the Amphion Foundation that recently awarded E&FA a grant for the first time. Duo Diorama recorded another work on this program, Edward T. Cone’s “Second Sonata,” which appeared on E&FA’s second CD. Also on the program is “Portal” by Vivian Fine.

The duo will record Stephen Blumberg’s “Night Sky” and Fine’s “Portal” for E&FA’s next CD that will celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary season.

“We are excited to present Duo Diorama a fourth time in Hawaii,” says Robert Pollock, executive director of E&FA. “This time, they will perform on two islands (Maui and Oahu). The Atherton (Performing Arts Studio in Honolulu) concert (home to Hawaii Public Radio) will be recorded for future broadcast by HPR.”

There will be a 6:30 p.m. pre-concert discussion before both events.

* For more information, visit www.ebbandflowarts.org or call 876-1854.

*****

Sylvia St. James headlines a “Juneteenth Celebration” of contemporary gospel, blues and jazz, recognizing Juneteenth and the ending of slavery at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the MACC’s McCoy Studio Theater.

St. James has written music for, and recorded and performed with, many leading artists including Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Arianna Grande, Keith Richards, Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli and Harry Connick Jr.

Maui’s Kelly Covington will open the show.

* The Juneteenth Celebration is presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the MACC’s McCoy Studio Theater. Tickets are $45 and $55 (plus applicable fees). For tickets or information, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or go online to www.mauiarts.org.

*****

The 27th annual Ki Ho’alu Festival will be presented from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 24, in the MACC’s A&B Amphitheater and Yokouchi Pavilion. Featuring some of Hawaii’s best slack key guitar players, this free event includes Makana, Ola Hou (Kevin Brown & Friends), Ho’okena, Brother Noland, Stephen Inglis, George Kahumoku & Friends, Sonny Lim, Paul Togioka, Ian O’Sullivan, Kamuela Kahoano, Donald Kaulia, Dwight Kanae, George Kuo, Aja Gample, Jim West & Ken Emerson and Emma Rose (artist list subject to change).

Besides an afternoon full of slack key guitar music, the festival includes Hawaiian crafters and displays of made-in-Hawaii products. Available for purchase is ono-licious food from Maui eateries including Three’s Bar & Grill, Maui Cones, Outrigger Pizza, Shaka Pops, 808 Mini Donuts and Real Fruit Ice Cream.

Bring a low-back beach chair, blanket or mat and enjoy a laid-back afternoon of music, fresh air and good vibes.

* For more information, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or go online to www.mauiarts.org.

COMMENTS