A Word With Tavana

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I had the opportunity to speak with the multi-talented musician Tavana in a recent interview. He has a four-venue tour of the Big Island scheduled, starting Feb. 5 in Kona and ending at Volcanoes National Park on Feb. 8. See the full tour schedule along with ticket info below.

You have an upcoming four-venue tour of the Big Island. We’re so spread out here. Do you find each audience different here?
All the different areas on the Big Island have such unique energy and vibe. I think the people that gravitate to each area are going to be different as well. It seems to me that everybody on the Big Island unanimously loves to see live music, doesn’t get enough of it, and are great audience members. They are very tuned into the set, which is always greatly appreciated by the artists. I feel lucky to be one of the artists that play there.

Let’s talk about your new album. I understand it will feature Mark Lindberg and Ian Sheridan (Jason Mraz’ bass player).
We don’t have a date yet, but it will be out in early 2020 for sure. We do have a few guests on the album. I have Danny Carvalho from Kailua Moon playing some slack key guitar on it. We are hoping to get some other artists as well. We have a girl named Christy Brook singing on it and Mark Lindberg and Ian Sheridan. Ian and I are basically producing the album.

Do you have a working title for the release?
Not right now, but we’re getting pretty close. I’m really excited because it’s the first time in a while that I’ve released an album with a full band. It’s kind of thrilling to be able to put something out after… it’s been probably eight years or something like that. It’s nice to step back into the full deal, and deal with other players. There’s a wide range of music on it – great ballads, some really rockin’ tunes… slide guitar, ukulele, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, a lot of different string instruments, and harmonies.

You recently played with G. Love on Maui. What was that like?
Awesome! We got really lucky to be invited by G. Love to sit in with him. I thought I was really only going to sit in for a song or something but ended up getting to sit in like six songs. I got to play a couple of my own songs on the stage with them, which was incredible. And then New Year’s Day, I ended up getting invited to play a set for Kelly Slater in his backyard at a cookout with all his friends and family, which is amazing! Such an honor. We ended up jamming till the end of the night. It was really cool and special! A great way to start off the new year.

I understand you have a new YouTube channel and you’re releasing videos once a week that feature different artists from around Hawaii. Tell me about that?
We’ve been doing it for the last three months. I just released one today with the pro surfer, Matt Meola. He has a film called A Surfing Surfer. It’s a great parody of a surf film that he took a lot of creative license with. It’s very fresh and new as far as stuff that’s being done in the surf world. He wanted me to see already edited video and play music to it. I just created this song by watching him surf. We ended up doing it all in just a few hours.

Upcoming on the channel we’ll have Taimane, Mike Love, and we’re going to put an episode out with me playing with G. Love, and even that cookout with Kelly Slater. It’s just my life, and all this great stuff I’ve been super lucky to go do. I’m really excited about the new YouTube channel and I’m trying to tell everybody about it.

Is there anybody you’d like to collaborate with that you haven’t already?
I would love to sit in with Taj Mahal. I’m a huge fan. He’s been a longtime inspiration of mine. Yeah, that would be a big one!

What other projects do you have lined up for this year?
We’re definitely looking forward to getting to tour the mainland…San Diego, the Pacific Northwest, definitely Northern California, and maybe hopefully get back to Texas as well.

If you go… Have a good show!

Tavana’s Big Island Tour Schedule

Kona
When: February 5, Wed.
Show: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Gertrude’s Jazz Bar, 75-5699 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona.
Info: 808-896-4845 Venue: 808-327-5299
Cost: $20. Gen. Adm. Advance.

Kawaihae
When: February 6, Thurs.
Doors: 6:00 p.m.  Show: 8:00 p.m.
Where: Blue Dragon Tavern, 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, Kawaihae
Info: 808-822-7771
Cost: $18.

Hilo
When: February 7, Fri.
Doors: 6:30 p.m. Show: 7 p.m.
Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, 76 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo
Info: 808-896-4845 Venue: (808) 498-4709
Cost: $20. Advance.

Volcano
When: February 8, Sat.
Where: KMC Theater – Volcanoes National Park, Volcano
Doors: 7:00 p.m.  Show: 7:45 p.m
Info: 808-896-4845. Venue:  808-967-8335
Cost: $20. Gen. Adm. Advance.  $35. Gold Circle

Ticket Information
Online Info, Tickets and Gold Circle: www.bluesbearhawaii.com or Call: 808-896-4845. Big Island Ticket Outlets: Blue Dragon Tavern, Gertrude’s Jazz Bar, and Hilo Town Tavern, at the door on the night of the show.


Steve Roby is a music journalist, an L.A. Times bestselling author, and a Big Island filmmaker. He’s been featured in the NY Times, Rolling Stone, and Billboard Magazine. Roby is also the Managing Editor of Big Island Music Magazine.

Photo credit: Jenna Lee PIctures

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