Do It: David Choi, Dumbfoundead, more
SATURDAY, JAN. 26
David Choi performs his romantic repertoire at Fresh Cafe
Life has imitated love for singer-songwriter David Choi, who drops by the Fresh Cafe this weekend for an evening of romantic pop tunes.
In 2006, Choi, a 26-year-old native of Los Angeles, posted his tune “YouTube (A Love Song),” a whimsical song proclaiming his affection for the video website. Lines like “You can comment all over me, YouTube, you can make passionate love to me, you can respond to my videos, you could, like, post one right back,” were enough to get plenty of viewers chuckling, and the song wound up on YouTube’s home page.
Since then Choi’s work has been heard on network and cable television and associated with brands such as Kellogg’s, the American Cancer Society, GE, Google, Toyota, Samsung and J.C. Penney. His YouTube channel has more than 930,000 subscribers.
According to his website, Choi grew up around music, getting pushed to practice violin and piano by his music store-owning parents. While in high school he learned how to compose music on the electronic keyboard and later on the computer. In 2004 he won the grand prize in David Bowie’s Mash-up contest, with Bowie himself selecting the winner, the first of several contests he would win.
Though Choi wrote songs professionally for Warner, he eventually went independent and self-produced his three albums, with the most recent, “Forever and Ever,” debuting at 97 on the iTunes top album charts in 2011.
Where: Fresh Cafe, 831 Queen St.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Info: davidchoiliveinhawaii.eventbrite.com or 688-8055
Also: Choi will meet with fans at 2 p.m. Saturday at Thefaceshop, Ward Warehouse.
FRIDAY, JAN. 25
Dumbfoundead brings beats back to Honolulu
L.A. rapper Dumbfoundead, aka Jonathan Park, proved his appeal to Honolulu fans last year when he filled the house at Soho Mixed Media Bar with a crowd eager to hear his savvy verses. Now “your fave rapper from K-town” is back with DJ Zo for another round.
In the meantime his reputation has only grown.
Dumbfoundead became a hero to Asian (and other) hip-hop heads for proving himself in the toughest L.A. battles, sorting out a way to run his own show and sell his own music, and giving back by supporting new kids via a Koreatown, L.A. program called Knockstudy.
Since he talked to TGIF last, Dumbfoundead has been touring, recording and releasing video like it was going out of style.
His latest album, “Take the Stares,” was released in October, with a mix of tongue-in-cheek party rockers and introspective tracks, both showing his talent for telling a story. The title track outlines the history: “Things sure have changed since ’04. Now I’m traveling to places that I’ve seen on brochures!”
Like he said last time around, “I just want to shock people when they look at me, leave them a little dumbfounded, whether it’s my being an Asian rapper or being really good at what I do.”
With a host of local performers, including Angry Locals, Broke Mokes and others, and a “mix tape set” including a batch of MCs.
Where: SoHo Mixed Media Bar, 80 S. Pauahi St.
When: 8 p.m. today
Cost: $30 ($20 advance tickets available from About the Goods, Prototype, In4mation and Sindication locations); 18+
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org, 372-2301
Note: Dumbfoundead and DJ Zo will participate in a Q-and-A for Inside the Ethnic Studies Studio, 1:30-2:30 p.m. today, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Campus Center, Room 308. Free.
– Elizabeth Kieszkowski
SATURDAY, JAN. 26
Wahiawa celebrates its cherry blossoms
It’s time to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Wahiawa, which hosts its 25th Annual Sakura Matsuri this weekend.
The event celebrates the more than 500 cherry trees that grow in Wahiawa, which “wants to be known as the Sakura town,” said Rene Mansho of the Wahiawa Nikkei Civic Association, sponsor of the event. December to March is when Wahiawa’s trees bloom, exhibiting unusual, dark pink flowers.
Wahiawa’s links to cherry trees have deep roots, starting with Choro Nakasone, a Waipio nursery owner who gave a seed from his native Okinawa to Tasuke Terao of Wahiawa in the 1950s, Mansho said. The Terao Nursery continues to be the main source of cherry tree seedlings in the area and will supply 10 seedlings offered as lottery prizes at the matsuri.
Other seedlings, also from Okinawa, were donated by the Japanese consul general in the 1970s, Mansho said. “People were encouraged to take the trees and plant them in their yards,” she said.
The matsuri, or festival, will also feature traditional entertainment by local performers. “We don’t have big names, but we have really talented local people who are doing Japanese singing and dancing, taiko drumming,” Mansho said.
“It’s a two-hour show (with intermission), but every time at the end of the show when people are leaving, they feel so exhilarated.”
The Wahiawa celebration continues next weekend with “Sakura Safari” trolley rides through town to view cherry blossoms.
“Every year, we take a different route, because it’s different trees and different streets where the flowers are in bloom,” Mansho said.
Where: Wahiawa Hongwanji Hall, 1067 California Ave., Wahiawa
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $5 donation
Note: Reservations required for “Sakura Safari” trolley rides, 9 and 11 a.m. Feb. 2. Tickets: $18. ($5 bento available). Call Mansho at 291-6151.
– Steven Mark
THURSDAY, JAN. 31
Prestigious Chinese orchestra to stop in Hawaii for a concert
The China National Orchestra performs Thursday with a concert of Chinese and Western music.
The orchestra features select musicians performing on traditional Chinese instruments, including the erhu, a two-string fiddle; and the pipa, a four-string, lutelike instrument. Western instruments such as cello and double bass will also be heard, since traditional Chinese instruments do not reach to the lower registers.
“(The orchestra is) directly related to the China Ministry of Culture, so government issue,” said Kenneth Lee of the Hawaii Mainland Chinese Overseas Association, the organization that invited the performers to Hawaii.
“They’ve even played at Carnegie Hall with Yo-Yo Ma,” Lee said. “It is one of the most prestigious orchestras in China.”
The orchestra, formed in 1960, has its own concert hall in Beijing and makes at least one international tour a year, and performs often at major events in Beijing and throughout China. It stops here on the way to concerts in California, including a performance at a new concert hall at Stanford University.
The program will feature modern Chinese symphonic music, which is often based on traditional folk melodies orchestrated for large ensemble and percussion.
“Since we requested it, they will do one or two American or Western songs,” Lee said. “We even requested they have some interaction with our Hawaii musicians, but (the Chinese managers) weren’t into that.”
Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Info: ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000