Uma’s Ultimate Kona Konnection is a column covering the music scene of Kailua Kona. This week’s focus is on Acoustic Minds, a duo out of Portland who will play at Papa Kona on January 22 at 6 p.m. and in Kealakekua at the Korner Pocket on January 25 at 7 p.m.
No, you’re not seeing double if you go see an Acoustic Minds show…these lovely guitar & ukulele playing songbirds are twins from Portland, Oregon. We first met at a Ladies Artesan Market function at the now-defunct Daylight Mind in Kona, as we were both playing music. I felt inspired by these ladies as they travel all over the world doing what they love – playing music. I’m pretty jelly really. Their harmonies may blow your mind and their videos are pretty stellar & creative. Check out “Kitty Kat” if you like dance jams & you’re over 18!
I’ve since learned they were born and raised in Oregon and have been singing since they were three! They starting traveling playing music very shortly thereafter. Last year they scheduled a Big Island whirlwind tour and will repeat that with new spots added while they visit from January 14 through 30. You’re in luck if you, like others, live both here in Kona and also on the Eastside, as they have five dates set in Hilo & Pahoa. When they posted about a European tour on Facebook, I was super curious to find out how that occurred and happy to learn more deets…
How did you two start playing music?
We started singing when we were three years old; our father was a singer…he taught us to harmonize at a very young age. Our mom always says we came out of the womb harmonizing LOL. At three years old, we auditioned for a professional kids’ choir and performed with them for 8 years on scholarship.
About how many days in a month do you usually play?
We are practicing, recording or performing gigs non-stop; music is integrated into our everyday lives. In a busy month, we can play anywhere from 15 to 20 shows; a slower month looks more like 5 to 10 shows.
Your biggest dream music-wise is…
Red Rocks, Grammys, selling out an Arena, Beyoncé fans (like fans on the stage that blow your hair lol).
What inspires your music most?
Life, heartache, relationships, empathy, love, empowerment, strength, inspiration.
Any challenges and/or joys of playing music in Portland & here on the Big Island?
There are always challenges with Music. Everything changes in different circumstances and different venues in every city. We try to stay relevant & make an impact on the world. My favorite part is performing to a crowd that has never heard of us, watching them all give their attention and be moved by harmonies and song.
Tell me the highlights of your Europe tour…your fave parts and not so fave or strangest tale.
Northern Ireland was absolutely stunning – the people there were wonderful and welcomed us like family ever we went. Germany was absolutely gorgeous; it reminded us of the Pacific Northwest so green and lush and wet, such a wonderful resiliently kind people as well. Spain was gorgeous, the art, architecture, music, and the vibe. There are so many stories to share I think the most stressful part was just figuring out traveling with so much gear all over 12 countries in a matter of a moment’s time and adapting to that as we stumbled a bit and learned so so much!
And how did you go about booking that?!?
We were fortunate enough to perform with Christopher Worth, an incredible soul singer out of Portland; he worked with a booking company called Rola music out of Austria.
How do you choose how to mix up playing to your song tracks and performing all acoustic?
It really varies on venue and vibe. We really like incorporating both in our set because it showcases all our musical sides. Beats are really fun when there are subs and acoustic is fun when we are playing strip down without amplification.
Any suggestions for aspiring musicians?
Start as early as you can on your craft, practice every single day, collaborate as much as possible, don’t be afraid of change, put yourself out there every single day, and try to play as many shows as you can out of town.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
(Jenni) Teleportation for sure, then I could always be back in my bed at night but be anywhere in the world for shows.
(Amanda) To be able to put out the fires in the world literally and figuratively.
What TV show did you last binge-watch?
(Jenni) On Netflix a really sweet show called Soundtrack and Jack Ryan, & on Prime, I really, really love Nailed it! Lol.
Love Guru Uma sings and performs solo acoustic ukulele on the NEXT music app (check on Facebook for when) and at weddings on the beach with the Kona Wedding Officiant. She also performs Sunday, Jan. 26 at Unity of Kona at 10 a.m. & at the Blue Dragon (1/23 & 2/29). Uma enjoys playing music w/her husband as well in the Uma Zuma Trio (At Korner Pocket 2/15) and with the Uma Zuma 4-piece rock & soul band; she loves staying busy as a substitute teacher, Uber driver, Tour guide and self-published author. She’s working on #3 in a series of adventure love story and self-help reads entitled ‘Love is Crazy – Lessons in Love: Creating your own Happy Ever After’ and ‘Love is Crazy Satisfying.’ More at umaojeda.weebly.com