The exquisite tones of an antique Stradivarius violin will enhance to the enjoyment of a special Maui Pops Orchestra holiday concert on Sunday in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Renowned violinist Frank Almond, concertmaster for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, will play a newly rediscovered Lipinski Stradivarius violin.
Constructed by legendary Italian instrument-maker Antonio Stradivari between 1680 and 1720, Stradivarius violins are treasured for their sublime acoustic properties. In 2006, a Strad was auctioned for $3,544,000.
Built in 1715, the Lipinski Stradivarius (it was named after celebrated Polish violinist Karol Lipinski) has been played by some of the greatest virtuosos in history. The first known owner, Giuseppe Tartini, probably played his famous "Devil's Trill" Sonata on this instrument. It had recently "disappeared" from the concert stage and only emerged last May after Almond received a mysterious e-mail asking if he wanted to see the instrument. It's now in Almond's hands on loan from its owner.
Soloist Frank Almond will perform with the Maui Pops in a holiday concert Sunday afternoon in Castle Theater.
"Our Christmas concert will be spectacular because of Frank Almond, who just acquired this Strad that disappeared since the '60s and was sitting in a bank vault," says Maui Pops Orchestra Conductor Stuart Chafetz. "It's a gem of an instrument. It's traced back to Tartini, and (Joseph) Joachim played it, and that's the violinist that Brahms wrote the Violin Concerto for. So he's using the violin that Joachim played."
"It's like somebody giving you this huge palette of colors combined with an almost unparalleled power, not just in volume but in terms of sound focus, intensity and evenness from top to bottom," Almond said in Strings magazine about the treasured instrument.
Active with solo and chamber music performances in the U.S. and abroad, Almond has held the position of concertmaster with the London Symphony and with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. His recording of the complete Brahms Sonatas, performed in collaboration with pianist William Wolfram, was hailed by the American Record Guide as "easily the greatest Brahms I have ever heard. Almond and Wolfram tower above giants."
The Maui Pops Orchestra will present a repertoire of light classics and traditional holiday favorites including "Carol of the Bells," "Five Joys of Christmas," "March of the Toys, "Winter Wonderland" and selections from "West Side Story." Almond will play the Bruch "Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor."
The concert, "is a great chance to let the orchestra shine," Chafetz concludes.
* The Holiday Pops concert will be held at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets are $10, $21, $26, and $36, plus applicable fees, half-price for kids for 12 and younger, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
On island to help map out the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tour, Stevie Nicks and John McVie joined Mick Fleetwood for an evening out in Kaanapali on Saturday enjoying Barry Flanagan and Eric Gilliom's show at the Royal Lahaina Resort. The legendary drummer showed up with a mini drum set and proceeded to play most of the show with the delighted duo.
"He didn't want to get off the stage," says Gilliom. "The place was jumping." With the assistance of Scotty Rotten on guitar and vocals, the expanded ensemble closed with a rousing version of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Two 2008 Na Hoku Hanohano winners, Best Male Vocalist Hoku Zuttermeister and Best Female Vocalist Napua Greig, combine talents for a show on Saturday in the McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC.
A member of the Hawaiian group Kana'e back in the early 1990s, Zuttermeister honed his skills playing with artists like the Makaha Sons, Ku'uipo Kumukahi, Jerry Santos, Sean Na'auao, Raiatea Helm and Na Palapalai. Self taught on ukulele, guitar and bass with a four-octave, range he has developed a signature sound for traditional Hawaiian music.
Releasing his debut album, " 'Aina Kupuna" in March 2007, Zuttermeister's highly praised work earned six Hoku Awards this year (more than any other artist) including Hawaiian Album of the Year, Male Vocalist, Best Hawaiian Language Performance and Most Promising Artist.
Seen by many as a budding star, Zuttermeister has deep roots in music and hula. His great-grandmother, Kau'i Zuttermeister, wrote "Na Pua Lei 'Ilima," which he sang on his album. His great-aunt is kumu hula Noe Zuttermeister.
Napua Greig, kumu hula of the award-winning Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka, and a teacher at Kamehameha Schools, released her lovely debut album, "Pihana," last year. Blending Hawaiian standards like John Almeida's "Lovely Sunrise Haleakala" and Lena Machado's "None Hula" (where she is joined by her mother, Hulu Lindsey), with new compositions such as "Lawakua" (written for her sister Kahulu), Greig's "Pihana" won Best Female Vocalist at the Hoku ceremony in June.
Raised on Maui, Greig began her hula study as a child with Hokulani Holt. Educated at Kamehameha School on Oahu, she moved to Hilo to continue her hula studies with Johnny Lum Ho, and later studied chant with Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele.
n Hoku Zuttermeister and Napua Greig perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the MACC's McCoy Studio Theater. Tickets are $30 plus applicable fees, half-price for kids 12 and younger, available as described above. Pre-show food and beverages will be available starting at 5:30 p.m. in the courtyard.
British reggae artist Pato Banton returns to Maui to Play the Hard Rock Cafe on Friday night.
Banton first came to the public's attention during the influential ska revival movement in 1982 on the Beat's "Special Beat Service" album, dueling with Rankin' Roger on "Pato And Roger A Go Talk." An appearance on UB40's "Hip Hop Robot" on "Little Baggariddim" soon followed.
As a solo artist Banton has worked with some of England's finest reggae musicians. His 1990 album, "Wise Up," included a duet with David Hinds of Steel Pulse and production by Drummie Zeb of Aswad. On his 1992 release, "Universal Love," he again teamed with former Beat singer Rankin' Roger.
Banton maintained a high visibility with a series of inspired teamings that have brought him chart success. A cover of Eddy Grant's "Baby Come Back," where he joined Robin and Ali Campbell of UB40, sold 1.5 million copies in Europe and Australasia. More recently he sang on "Burning London," a tribute to '80s punk rock kings the Clash, dueting with Roger on an exuberant dancehall style version of "Rock the Casbah." And he also joined forces with Sting on a remix of "The Cowboy Song" from the "Fields of Gold" album, and a reworking of the Police hit "Spirits In The Material World," which was used on the "Ace Ventura" soundtrack.
Banton has also collaborated with Maui's Marty Dread. They recorded a remix of Marty's song "Pray For Them," featured on his album "The Hits (1993-2003)."
These days Banton tours and records with the Californian reggae band Mystic Roots. The British reggae star and his band have been drawing rave reviews.
"Pato Banton has been a force on the reggae scene for almost 25 years and continues to inspire," praised an Orange County Register review. "Backed by the powerful six-member Mystic Roots Band, the talented singer/toaster sang songs geared toward having a good time, but with deeper messages centering on his religious faith, the need for world peace and the legalization of marijuana. However, his appearance really captured the artistic heights of the genre during performances of 'One World (Not Three),' 'Good News' and a spirited cover of Bob Marley's 'Jamming' that got just about everyone dancing."
"I like to perform and dance on stage and get people to be energetic," he says. "My faith in God is what inspires me to do what I do. I try not to be too preachy but just share what inspires me and give people another way of looking at things."
* Pato Banton and the Mystic Roots Band perform at 10 p.m. Friday at the Hard Rock Cafe. Tickets are $28 in advance and $33 at the door. A portion of proceeds will benefit Global Angels, a U.K.-based organization championing the needs of children around the world.
Acclaimed kirtan leader Krishna Das also returns to our island, performing at The Studio Maui on Sunday evening.
Discovering Hindu chanting in the late 1960s during a pilgrimage to India where he became a devotee of Indian master Maharaj-ji, years later he began holding informal gatherings and he now heads a burgeoning national movement that has attracted a few notables. Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Def Leppard's drummer Rick Allen played prominent roles on his album "All One." Sting sang and played bass on Das' album "Pilgrim Heart," and Das taught Madonna how to chant for a movie role.
After a sojourn in India, Alanis Morissette frequented his chanting sessions, and celebrated producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine) was so moved by Krishna Das' chanting, he offered his services for the recording of the album "Breath of the Heart," which featured a choir of 50 including Beastie Boy Mike D.
Creating a busy career out of chanting to God, KD often hears how his recordings have helped folks through hardship. "People who are very ill or dying or going through terrible crisis, they find the music and it really gives them a place to land," he reports. "It's a great thing. It's a great blessing for me and everybody else. I see it as my guru's offering to the world. I just drag my poor old body around and pump the harmonium and sing."
Krishna Das' latest CD, the double disk "Heart Full of Soul," is a vibrant live recording that immerses the listener in the joyous experience of a devotional chant evening. It includes some favorites and the lively gospel song "Jesus on the Mainline."
At Sunday's concert, he will be accompanied by Arjun Bruggeman on tabla, Genevieve Walker on violin and Nina Rao on finger cymbals and vocals.
* Krishna Das leads a kirtan at 7 p.m. Sunday at The Studio Maui in Haiku Marketplace. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 day of show.