Do It: K-Ci & JoJo, Mardi Gras, more

Feb. 8, 2013 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
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--Courtesy photo

British trio Above and Beyond remixes and tweaks to make masterpieces

“We’re in the future, and I can tell you, the future is bright,” said Tony McGuinness.

The member of the trio Above & Beyond was on the line from a tour stop in Australia, which is indeed 21 hours ahead of Honolulu, but he might as well have been talking about the futuristic, electronic “trance music” that the group has created over the past decade, becoming one of world’s top DJ groups in the process.

McGuinness’ band mates, Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamaeki, are electronic engineers and musicians trained at the University of Westminster who got their start remixing other performers’ music.

“We would get a track, which obviously would have its own chords, and then we’d think about how we’d remix it and change the chords to make the song even more impactful,” said McGuinness, who was a guitarist and songwriter before joining Grant and Siljamaeki. “I think it’s a really interesting thing, having been in bands for years, where the music and lyrics are only written once. You very seldom in a band will change the backing track … but it’s proven very successful for us.”

So successful, in fact, that Madonna chose their remix “What It Feels Like for a Girl” to make her video rather than the album version.

Above & Beyond now composes its own music but continues the tweaking process. In its most recent effort, the trio took one of its older songs, “Liquid Love,” which McGuinness called “mildly smily,” and turned it into a “dark tragedy,” he said.

“It’s like putting a song through Photoshop,” he said. “You’re cranking up the colors and suddenly it’s taking on the look of a masterpiece. That’s something that’s really exciting to behold.”

Where: Kakaako Waterfront Park
When: 5 p.m. today
Cost: $40
Info: or 855-235-2867

Isle Mardi Gras aims for a Carnival feel
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New Orleans gets the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras this year, so if Honolulu gets the Pro Bowl, then it should have a good Mardi Gras, too. This year’s 13th annual event promises an evening of partying that rivals the celebration made famous for decadence and overindulgence in New Orleans, the Caribbean region and Brazil.

Nuuanu Avenue in Chinatown between King and Beretania streets will be closed starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday as more than 100 local performers are expected to draw more than 10,000 revelers to the area. Two parades, one at 7 p.m. and another at 9, will samba their way through the street, with local krewes producing floats and tossing beads to the crowd.

Three stages will feature entertainment spiced with the flavor of Mardi Gras — or Carnival, as the event is known in Caribbean and Latin American nations:

» The Gumbo Stage, featuring the New Orleans stylings of groups including New Orleans transplant John Cannizzaro & Delta Skelta, along with Gyn & Melodie Soul and Gumbo Ya Ya.

» The Rio Sambadrome Stage, with Brazilian tunes from Samba Surf and 2doBem and choreographed samba routines by Fusion Dance Co.

» The International Stage, with Latin funk by the Rolando Sanchez Band, bluegrass by Saloon Pilots and blues from Honolulu’s Mark Prados & His Enablers.

Vendors will provide all the masks, beads and costume accessories you might need, and food tents and trucks will feature special foods from New Orleans and Latin America. Since Mardi Gras marks the beginning of Lent, a period of deprivation symbolizing the 40 days Jesus spent wandering the desert, you might as well eat up.

Where: Nuuanu Ave., Chinatown
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Cost: Free
Note: Extending the Mardi Gras celebration into the night, nine clubs are participating in a Carnival Club Crawl from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday. Participants can visit nine clubs for one $10 cover; wristbands are available at the festival. See the entertainment calendar at

Night of klezmer music promises laughs as well
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Oy vey! If that’s how you’re feeling — oh, woe — then head to the Big Galut(e) performance Saturday at the Doris Duke Theatre.

The band, headed by local violinist Sasha Margolis, will lighten your load with its energetic performance of klezmer. The band specializes in the hauntingly colorful Jewish folk music, which started as wedding music in Central and Eastern European Jewish communities. It also plays classical works from Italy, Spain and Turkey.

Margolis, who also plays violin with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, grew up playing klezmer music with his father, a classical pianist and professor of music at Oberlin College in Ohio. “He bought an accordion, and he decided we should start playing this stuff,” he said.

Margolis later let met clarinetist Robin Seletsky, who had a similar experience in New York with her father, Harold Seletsky. “In fact, he was known as ‘The Prez of Klez,'” Margolis said.

Look for classic Catskills-type entertainment as members of the band, who are all classically trained musicians as well as klezmorim, engage in light banter and joke-telling.

“In studying the history of klezmer music, we have learned that that was always a big part of it,” Margolis said. “We throw in a few pieces of classical music by Jewish composers and some music from other parts of the Jewish world, but yeah, we definitely do the Borscht Belt thing.”

Where: Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $45
Info: or 532-8700

K-Ci & Jojo bring soul stylings to Hawaii for Valentine’s Day
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If Valentine’s Day is supposed to be sentimental, then the Soul Sessions Vol. 4 concert at Blaisdell Arena fits the bill perfectly.

The concert features the R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo (brothers Cedric and Joel Hailey), whose polished 1998 hit “All My Life” topped R&B and pop charts for three weeks, earning Grammy and MTV video award nominations and becoming a soulful part of many millennials’ school-dance memories.

The Haileys grew up singing gospel music in church choirs in the South, eventually joining another brother act, Dalvin and Donald DeVante, to form the group Jodeci. The group produced three albums from 1991-1995, which all went platinum, while its suggestive lyrics earned the group the title “the Kings of Do-Me R&B.” Last year, Jodeci was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. The duo posted a photo of their plaque on their Facebook page with the caption, “It ain’t over!”

Going independent as K-Ci and JoJo, the brothers produced their first album, “Love Always,” in 1998, representing a softer side of the duo. “All My Life,” a romantic ballad, written by Joel Hailey and dedicated to his daughter, became an international hit. Two more albums, “It’s Real” and “X,” came out in 1999 and 2000, and both went platinum. The duo’s output slowed in the 2000s, and in 2010 the brothers appeared in a reality show that addressed their troubles with alcohol. Since then they’ve resumed performing and touring.

Joining them for the evening will be 1990s R&B groups Shai and Blackstreet, and Bobby V, who has been championed by Ludacris.

Where: Blaisdell Arena, 777 Ward Ave.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Cost: $45-$160
Info: or 800-745-3000

Steven Mark

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