We are honoured to welcome some amazing artists from around the world, to the 2018 NiueKulele Festival on Niue island.
Honoka Katayama & Azita Ganjali
Gaining worldwide attention for their electrifying performances, Honoka (19) and Azita (16) have become internet sensations drawing thousands of fans across the globe and hundreds of thousands of YouTube views. In 2012, these young girls combined their creative forces and began performing together as a duo, after first meeting at Ukulele Hale, a ukulele studio in Hawai’i, founded by Jody Kamisato. They entered the 2013 International Ukulele Contest, taking home first place in Group Division and were also awarded the highly prestigious title of MVP. Soon after, Honoka and Azita were invited to Okinawa, Japan to open for the famous Japanese band BEGIN at the annual “Utano Hi” concert, performing for thousands of people and were featured on nationwide TV. They were featured on the Island Style Ukulele 2 album, which received the 2015 Nā Hoku Hanohano Award for Compilation Album of the Year, the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy Awards. They’ve recently released their first and highly anticipated EP and have toured extensively throughout Japan. They were also invited to perform at the Annual Czech Ukulele Festival in Prague, receiving rave reviews from around the world.
Jody is the owner of Ukulele Hale, a ukulele studio in Honolulu that has produced some of Hawaiiʼs greatest rising stars. Many of his students have gone on to win international and statewide talent competitions including the dynamic duo Honoka and Azita. Jody is also a member of the group Heart & Soul. His debut album entitled “Take it Easy” was the recipient of the 15th Annual Hawaii Music Award for Island Contemporary and was nominated for 2 Na Hoku Hano Hano Awards - Most Promising Artists and Contemporary Album of the Year. He was featured on the Island Style Ukulele Volume 2 album, which received the 2015 Nā Hoku Hanohano Award for Compilation Album of the Year. Currently, you can find Kamisato performing with Heart & Soul twice a week at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spaʼs signature show the Starlit Hui and mentoring his ukulele protégés Honoka & Azita. Jody is more than just a ukulele instructor, entertainer, and owner of Ukulele Hale - he is a true ambassador of the Aloha spirit.
Known around the world as a virtuoso Ukulele player and finger-picking Guitarist, Ryo Montgomery is happiest with an instrument in his hand. He spent much of his early life haunting the back stage area of a blues bar, listening to and learning from some of the best international acts in the business. This background gave him a deep love for jazz and the blues - his speciality.
Ryo has been headline artist at festivals around the world, including California, Hawai'i, Korea and Japan. He's played with some of the worlds best ukulele players and musicians including world number one Jake Shimabukuro and George Benson. His high energy is transferred into the fast strumming of the ukulele strings, energising the audience.
Maru ‘The Clock’ Nitor-Zammataro was born and bred in Cairns, Australia. He’s still at school and is son of Chilean freedom fighter and Latin music maestro. Maru started playing Ukulele and Latin instruments at the age of 4 in the local South American community. Now he travels the world with The Montgomery Brothers playing ukulele, guitar and percussion. A very seasoned musician at the age of 20.
Jackson Hekesi is a well known musician in Niue with a passion for sharing his love of the ukulele. His dream is to start a school for children and adults alike to learn how to play this wonderful instrument. He has been playing for over a decade as both a solo artist and as part of the group J’Love. Jackson is excited to be a part of Niuekulele and is looking forward to sharing his unique skills.