Anuhea Sparkles & Shines at Kahilu Theatre Concert

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“Music truly heals,” said award-winning singer Anuhea in her Kahilu concert last Saturday before launching into her new single “Just Keep Jamming.” She called the tune her “Ode to mental health awareness.”

Like many musicians, Anuhea spoke of how the pandemic completely rearranged everyday life and the new reality of figuring out how to make a living.

“No touring, no seeing friends and no gatherings… it was a crazy pandemic in the early days, the mental breakdown kind – I didn’t know who I was anymore,” admitted Anuhea. Instead, her therapy was listening to more music and falling back in love with it again.

If anything, her positive energy, and consistent good vibe music throughout the show were a testament to her determination to get through these difficult times. The audience adored her for being so open, especially her fanbase, known as “Anu-jammers,” seated in the first few rows.

Anuhea was backed by a solid band featuring Duncan Bamsey (sax), Jaden Jumawan (guitar), George Wit (drums), Shea Marcello (bass), and Anuhea sang and played rhythm on a Fender Acoustisonic guitar. They were surrounded by a beautifully decorated stage filled with pampas grass, anthuriums, and hinahina.

Anuhea’s music is a blend of island reggae, pop, R&B, and Jawaiian, with a little hip-hop and rap tossed in for good measure. At times, with the addition of Bamsey’s brilliantly smooth sax work, there was a touch of Sade influence. Anuhea and her band are heading out on tour next month, so they were working out the kinks on newer tunes like “RAW” and “Just Keep Jamming.”

l-r: Duncan Bamsey (sax), Shea Marcello (bass), and Anuhea

One of the show’s many highlights was the singer’s arrangement of the Cyndi Lauper classic with a Hawaiian twist, “True Colors (Kou ‘Ano Ku’i’o).” Anuhea noted that the track appears on Kimié Miner’s Grammy-nominated collection Hawaiian Ocean Lullaby.  She dedicated the song to her son Ikena Jack who was seated in the theatre, and who also appears in the music video.

There were very few song intros or opportunities to applaud in between songs, making the concert feel more like a party. Hopefully, we’ll get back to dancing in the aisles again.

Anuhea ended her 90-minute set with a cover of Lorde’s big hit “Royals.” Then, just as the last note hit, Sara Neely (Executive Director) and Chuck Gessert (Artistic Director) came out to place leis on everyone, a Kahilu tradition that’s recently been revived.

The audience gave her a standing ovation and encouraged a hana hou – “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” and they were back on their feet cheering as Anuhea left the stage.

In addition to her new single and upcoming tour of California and Florida, Anuhea plans to release more new music and an album later this year. Also, be sure to check out her podcast Just Keep Jamming. It’s available on all major platforms and features a wide variety of topics and guests.


Notes & Links

Setlist
Come Over Love | Higher Than the Clouds | Only Man in The World | Forever Summer | True Colors (Kou ‘Ano Ku’i’o) | Just Keep Jamming | Simple Love Song | Shoulders | RAW | Mr. Mellow | Crown Royal | Big Deal | Royals |

Hana Hou
Send My Love (To Your New Lover)

Concert Date: 26/FEB/2022

Connect with Anuhea
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Read a 2019 review of Anuhea’s HPT concert here.

About the author: Steve Roby is a music journalist, best-selling author, and editor of Big Island Music Magazine.
Photos: Steve Roby

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