The American Music Festival and Conference 2012, which launched on Monday and continues through the weekend, has a mission to inspire new original music. With that aim, 40-plus bands featuring a spectrum of musical styles from New York, Virginia, Dallas and Mississippi, to Chicago, Italy, and the islands will perform at various clubs culminating in a grand finale on Sunday at Camp Keanae.
This unique event includes live performances, workshops, clinics, showcases and industry networking.
One of the exciting acts making their Maui debut is Lunic, an electronic/rock/pop one-woman band from New York. Multi-instrumentalist Kaitee Page is Lunic. On her latest album, "Future Sex Drama," a beguiling blend of ethereal synthpop and electronic rock, she does a Prince, playing all the instruments.
Multi-instrumentalist Kaitee Page is “Lunic.” She will be part of the Sunday finale of the “American Music Festival and Conference 2012” at Camp Keanae.
Photo courtesy Kaitee Page
Jon Cleary will keep the party going after the “Dukes” concert tonight with a special performance at Charley’s in Paia.
JESSE HIATT photo
Imagine a cross between such English electro-pop bands as Ladytron and The xx with the swirl of classic Pet Shop Boys.
"Listen to Kaitee Page's dense, classical arrangements and her angelic yet dynamic voice and it's hard to believe it's only been two years since she launched her all-out assault on pedestrian pop rock armed with her piano, violin and hitherto unknown songwriting chops," praised Citybeat.
A classically trained violist/violinist, Lunic fuses contemporary and classical instrumentation with electronic music composition.
To debut songs from her latest recording on Maui she will employ an array of loops and samplers with various live instruments. "I played all the instruments on my album, so at shows for drum beats I either trigger them live or have them programmed electronically," Page explains. "I'll pick up the violin in the middle of a set and I have a mini-Korg keyboard and play electric guitar."
Page first began studying viola as an 8-years-old. That training led to the violin. "I have 5-string electric, so it's both a viola and a violin," she says.
The violin has become a distinctive element in a number of contemporary bands from Arcade Fire and Dave Mathews to Ra Ra Riot. "My favorite band is Placebo and in some of their live videos they have a touring electric violinist," she notes.
Releasing her first recording in 2008, a collection of demo songs called "Skeletons," Lunic's official debut album "Lovethief," followed a year later.
Among her composing credits she placed in the top three of the 2011 John Lennon Songwriting Contest's Electronic Category and received an honorable mention for her song "Oh No Yoko!" at the 2010 SongCircle Songwriter Awards.
Her obvious talent has allowed her to finance her career through fan supported web sites. In recent years a number of emerging artists have been able accomplish recording success through this novel medium, bypassing the typical music label route.
A New York Times article about a 2010 music industry report noted: "The sum spent on a new artist or group is typically $1 million. The report did not point out that the approximately 4,000 lucky artists who are on the rosters of the major record companies represent 0.3 percent of the artists found on MySpace."
"Before I started on my own I played violin and keyboards in the band Porcelain, which was signed to Universal Records," Page says. "And I learned there was a down side to a major label. I wanted to not have a middle person and play directly to fans and hear their voices giving me ideas. You're owned with a major label so that's why I chose to do the last two albums on a fan-funded basis, through Sellaband. More well known bands are doing it now like IAMX. They just raised their entire budget in 24 hours on PledgeMusic. The lead singer of the Dresden Dolls raised $1 million on Kickstarter. And Rusted Root is now raising money on their own website. You can just make art for fans. You don't have to have somebody telling you to be more like Kelly Clarkson or Britney Spears. You can just be yourself and be true to the art."
The American Music Festival and Conference continues tonight with a Rap Showcase at Oceans, featuring Jordan Frescher, Marly Dumarz and LilJ.
On Friday, Lulu's Lahaina will host a Halloween-Cosplay Bash with Lunic and DJ Nocturna with prizes for best costume.
The festival moves to Keanae for the final two days, running from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
On Saturday a back-porch campfire jam will feature Homesick Elephant, Carpool to Nashville, Pa'amana, Dan Saunders, Christina Gomes, Stef Muzic, Art of Whimsy and Joel Katz.
Sunday's finale includes music by Edge of Paradise, Lunic, Abbey St. John, Homesick Elephant, Saving the Orphan, Flashdrive, and more. Plus there's an all-ages Halloween Cosplay Ball with internationally celebrated DJ/producer Kraddy.
Workshops during the weekend will feature Karyn Sarring of the music department at UH Maui College with "How to Get What You Want Out of Your Music;" Scott Patrick Sellitto of Dancing Mice Productions with "Music in Film and Visual Media;" and Hunter Scott of LaFamos PR & Branding discussing PR assessments.
* The American Music Festival and Conference 2012 runs today through Sunday. Admission to club dates is $8. All day tickets for Camp Keanae events are $48. For more info visit www.amfc2012hawaii.com.
It's Dukes day! The supergroup trio of Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs will regale us tonight with a bevy of their hits and more backed by an ace ensemble.
These stellar, virtuoso musicians include guitarist Jon Herington, bassist Freddie Washington, keyboardist Jim Beard, trumpeter Michael Leonhart and drummer Shannon Forest, whose collective resume ranges from Steely Dan, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder to Elton John, James Brown, Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Backing vocalist Catherine Russell has toured with Paul Simon and David Bowie, while Carolyn Leonhart has sung with Steely Dan on three world tours and two albums. Both appear on Fagen's new "Sunken Condos" album.
* The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue perform tonight at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $55, $75 and $95, and a limited number of premium seats are available at $149 (plus applicable fees).
There's a worthy benefit concert coming up Nov. 2 for saxophonist David Choy at the Royal Lahaina Resort's Jazz Club Maui room.
Special guests include saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa and keyboardist Bill Heller of the popular contemporary jazz band The Rippingtons, and smooth jazz saxophonist and part-time Maui resident Marion Meadows. They'll join SLAM! featuring Kelly Covington, plus Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Gina Martinelli, Jamie Lawrence and emcee Kathy Collins.
The evening will include a silent auction with all net proceeds from the show and auction going to David and his family to help with medical and other related expenses.
Advance reservation price is $20, or $25 at the door. For reservations call Jay Molina at 276-6961, or the Royal Lahaina Resort at 661-3611. RSVP is requested.
If you're still buzzing after tonight's MACC concert, head over to Charley's for a "Dukes of September After-Party" with New Orleans funk and R&B legend Jon Cleary.
A fixture on the Crescent City's club circuit and a regular on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival lineup, Cleary became enamored with the music of New Orleans' legend Allan Toussaint, while living in England.
After moving to Louisiana, Cleary began working with visiting artists from Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' to India Arie and Ryan Adams.
"He's the world's best-kept secret," raved Bonnie Raitt, who hired him after an L.A. recording session in 1999. Cleary spent 10 years touring and recording with Raitt, who included a number of his songs on her albums.
His latest album "Occapella!," which features performances by Raitt and Dr. John, celebrates the Toussaint songbook.
"New Orleans' Jon Cleary is a triple threat - with a salty-sweet voice, masterful piano skills, and a knack for stacking infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics," praised a review.
Show at 10:15 p.m. Mark Johnstone guests. $5 off door purchased tickets to anyone who presents a Dukes' ticket stub.
The Maui Angkor Wat International Film Festival at the MACC includes two music docs screening on Saturday in the McCoy Studio Theater.
The award-winning "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music," at 4 p.m., features musicians from around the world collaborating on familiar and new songs.
And "The Dark Side of the Moon," at 6 p.m., focuses on a track-by-track look at Pink Floyd's epic album.
Tickets are $10 per screening.
Finally, Iranian virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, a master of classical Kurdish and Persian music, will perform with the Brooklyn Rider string quartet on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Castle Theater.
An original member of Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, Kalhor is acclaimed for his playing of the kemancheh, a Persian bowed string instrument.
Tickets are $12, $30, and $40 (plus applicable fees).