On Friday night, Charley's will host a CD release party for TEOMON. A former ragamuffin rapper with the Kauai-based reggae band The Shakers, TEOMON (he likes all caps) has been spreading inspirational messages for years.
With his latest, "Higher Calling," TEOMON has crafted a catchy, contemporary reggae collection perfect for local radio, and beyond the reef.
Singing and rapping, the Maui artist refers to his upbeat music as modern roots dancehall.
Rudy Love, one of the greatest R&B artists you’ve never heard of, performs with his son, Rudy Love Jr., Friday at Casanova.
"I call it conscious, heartfelt reggae with a message," he says. "It's more like modern roots. My vocal style is related to dancehall because sometimes I'm rapping. In Jamaica they would call me a singjay. The original reggae rappers were the toasters and they would sing and rap. On some of my songs I rap and sing at the same time. Sometimes I'll just rap, and sometimes I'll just sing."
Along with playful and romantic material, TEOMAN disseminates the occasional political rallying calls with tracks like "Anthem For Peace" and "Mother Earth."
"I write in a universal way, I'm just trying to make a message that everybody can relate to," he notes. "But at the same time I want to have fun songs like 'Natural High.' "
Raised on the Big Island and Maui, TEOMON's early career was assisted by Marty Dread. He rapped on Marty's 1996 CD "Reggae For Love," and the Hoku-nominated "Reggae Suite."
"We've known each other since high school," he explains. "I played congas in Marty's first reggae band, but I didn't know what I was doing. He just let me play. We've done a lot together over the years."
Citing influences from old school roots artists such as the Wailing Souls and the Itals, to Beres Hammond, and singjay star Sizzla, TEOMAN now works with Hali'imaile producer B.U.B.Z. Later in the year the two musicians will head off to Jamaica to record with reggae singer Gavinchi.
"People are believing in my music," he concludes. "My dream is to keep doing my higher calling which is to sing this deep, passionate music with a strong inspirational vibe and go around the world."
* TEOMON performs Friday at Charley's. Also on the bill, Superdub 5, B.U.B.Z., King David and Rootzmon.
On his most recent "American Gangster" CD, hip- hop superstar Jay-Z sampled the likes of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Barry White, the Isley Brothers, and Rudy Love & the Love Family.
You probably haven't heard of an exceptionally talented R&B musician named Rudy Love, but his extensive career includes involvement with artists of the caliber of Sly and the Family Stone, Ray Charles and Isaac Hayes.
Love, who performs on Friday evening at Casanova with one of his sons, Rudy Love Jr., began working with legendary soul star Sly Stone back in 1974, and sang on Stone's album "High On You."
While Stone has largely remained out of the spotlight for many years, Rudy reports he's still busy creating music.
"He records more than anybody I have ever met in my life," he reveals. "I still talk to him pretty much on an every other day basis. My experience with him was one of the strongest. He's had me sing on a few things. We've been friends for a long time. They adopted me into the family when I played in the group back in the '70s."
Born into a large family, Rudy developed a love for singing and performing from his gospel singing/musician father, Robert Love Sr. Through his dad, he met many leading musicians when they passed through his hometown of Wichita, Kan. Forming Rudy Love & the Love Family, the group began recording in the 1970s.
Both Ray Charles and Isaac Hayes were attracted to their music, picking up on the group's "Your Love is So Doggone Good" song - Charles on his "Love Country Style" album, and Hayes on the classic "Black Moses."
"It was first recorded by The Whispers on their 'Love Story' album, then Ray Charles put it on 'Love Country Style,' and then Isaac Hayes did it," Rudy recalls. "It just caught on, and somebody's been doing it every so often."
Last year, heavily referencing the 1970s, Jay-Z's critically acclaimed comeback "black superhero music" album, "American Gangster," sampled Rudy's music and his funky Sly Stone-style number "Does Your Mama Know" on the song "Sweet."
"They called me up and I said, 'Yes, please send the check yesterday,' " says Love chuckling. "I feel very privileged."
Making his Maui debut at the Paia Inn last week, Love's audience included Mick Fleetwood and Rick Vitto. For his Casanova show, he will mix originals with a few covers by Sly Stone, Al Green and Marvin Gaye.
"From what I understand a lot of island players will pop by," he says. "It's going to be fun."
* Rudy Love and Rudy Love Jr. perform Friday night at 9:30 at Casanova. Also on board, bassist Lenny Castellanos and Fulton Tashombe on keyboards, with guests like singer Gretchen Rhodes from Mick Fleetwood's Island Rumours Band. Admission is $10.
A spin-off of the Island Rumours Band, legendary drummer Mick Fleetwood is now touring with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, a quartet that pays tribute to the original Fleetwood Mac, founded in 1967.
Along with guitarist Rick Vitto, the group features Maui musicians, bassist Lenny Castellanos and keyboardist Mark Johnstone. They recently headlined at Norway's Notodden International Blues Festival, the largest and most popular blues festival in Northern Europe. Also on the bill, Koko Taylor, Charlie Musselwhite, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Feat and pianist Pinetop Perkins.
"It was a blast, we tore it up," Lenny reports. "All the musicians stayed in an old ski resort. There was such a buzz, with jam sessions to the early morning. All these legends were there like Pinetop Perkins, who is 96 and still smokes and eats McDonalds. At dinner one night, Pinetop starts playing piano and Henry Butler from New Orleans, who is incredible, joins in, and then one of Koko Taylor's singers gets up and starts singing 'Amazing Grace.' It was like going to church."
In October, the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band heads back to Europe for dates across the continent including a triumphant return to the U.K.
We can look forward to a Mick Fleetwood Blues Band gig on Maui by the end of the month.
Saturday night at Casanova Shankara presents a CD release/dance party for its latest, "Ocean of Love." Featuring Raj Agni, David Backstrom and DJ Ged, Shankara steps up creatively with its new CD. Ably assisted by guests including ace saxophonist David Choy and singer Kelly Covington, they kick up the grooves on tracks like the super funky "Martin Was Right." Show at 9:30 p.m., $10 at the door.
Vocal coach Lani Star is offering a community singing program sponsored by the County of Maui. Classes begin on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Pukalani Community Center. Scholarships are available for those in need.
Lani creates music with her partner Bruce BecVar, known for his best-selling album, "The Magic of Healing Music," which he produced for Deepak Chopra. The duo released the CD "Mystic Jazz." Call 878-8888 for more info.
* Contact Jon Woodhouse at email@example.com.