We are honoured to welcome some amazing artists from around the world, to the 2016 NiueKulele Festival on Niue island.
Honoka Katayama & Azita ganjali
Gaining worldwide attention for their electrifying performances, Honoka (18) and Azita (15) 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 over 8,000 people and were featured on nationwide TV. The girls 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 (in August 2016) 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, but a true ambassador of the Aloha spirit.
Paul shares his personal passion for music with many, and focuses on teaching folks who have the ambition to be intermediate and advanced ukulele players. He encourages others to participate with many musical instruments but prefers playing one of his 50+ ukes in the genre of traditional New Zealand songs, folk blues, boogie, and ragtime. Paul has delivered hundreds of workshops and performances, and is currently preparing a ukulele training manual to support individuals using a combination of unique techniques. Paul has been a member of the Devonport Folk Music club since 1971, and has been running his own Hibiscus Coast Folk Music Club for three years. He teaches many ukulele workshops at clubs and festivals as an international entertainer, around Australia, Canada (where he lived for 28 years) and his native New Zealand, and performs primarily to show what folks can do with their ukulele, with just some simple elements to accompany a song. He strongly believes that the facilitation of ones natural musical pizzazz is a talent that can be learned, and ensures every participant in his workshops discover something of their own unique style and energy, and how to inject some of that colour and texture into their own playing.
Henry is of Cook Islands descent and comes from a long and illustrious lineage of musicians and artists. Henry was performing with his family band by the time he was 10 and as a young teen he was already travelling around Aotearoa and the south pacific with his own young group, the Dreamlovers. Along with his older and younger siblings, Henry became the backbone of the family band 2Pouz Fynist, releasing several albums and going on to form their own label in later years. He also toured with the Vaimutu String Band, and soon became a frequent face to audiences in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and Aotearoa. Henry is recognised as a master musician and while he plays several instruments, it’s his prowess on the Kapu Akari (Coconut Shell) Ukulele that has brought him distinction. His skill is largely due to the fact that this was the first instrument he ever picked up as a child. Henry’s talent has been called upon time and again for some of the biggest pacific events in New Zealand and abroad.
Profile to come
New Zealand born, Cook Islander Jarome, is a self-taught musician (he plays 6 instruments) and currently works as a producer, artist and educator. From birth he was surrounded by musicians, singers, traditional cultural artists, drummers and dancers, performing on stage playing ukulele solos from the age of 5, and touring with the Vaimutu String Band, soon becoming a familiar face to his audiences in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, and Aotearoa. Recognised as a master ukulele artist Jarome was snapped up by King Kapisi, Ill Semantics and other artists under the Dawn Raid Entertainment label, to contribute to their own musical works. Over the last 5 years, he has supported many musical groups with production, arrangement, musicianship and general advice. To date, Jarome has produced 18 albums, and contributed to the music on almost all of them, as well as appearing on music videos, TV and radio, plus has composed award-winning songs, choreographed for champion dancers, and drummed for professional teams. While Jarome has mastered all types of ukulele, he has a special love for the Cook Islands style ‘Kapu Akari” (coconut shell) version, and prefers it for teaching entry level learners.
Mac Toomalatai and Ben Vai
Ben and Mac have been playing together as a team since 2004. They have entertained all over Samoa, booked by all the clubs and hotels in the Samoan capital of Apia. The pair have entertained for the Head of State, Prime Minister and various government functions. They have also travelled to Shanghai, China to represent Samoa at the World Expo in 2010.
Ben and Mac enjoy playing all types of music the same as island music, while covering a lot of Pacific tunes as possible.
Profile to come.