Golden leads ‘Jazz and Blues’ lineup
By Gary Chun / firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of Oahu’s finest singers will be featured in a “Star-Studded Evening of Jazz and Blues” at tonight’s First Friday event at the Hawaii State Art Museum.
Al Harrington returns from last year’s inaugural concert, once again backed by the Chuck James Trio. The trio also will accompany local favorites Shari Lynn and Ginai.
Starr Kalahiki and Ernest Golden will be first-timers at the event.
SECOND ANNUAL ‘STAR-STUDDED EVENING OF JAZZ AND BLUES’
With Shari Lynn, Al Harrington, Ginai, Starr Kalahiki, Ernest Golden, and the Chuck James Trio
Where: Hawai’i State Art Museum, 2nd floor courtyard, 250 S. Hotel St.
When: 6-8:30 p.m. today
FIRST FRIDAY RUNDOWN
This month’s First Friday extends the Fourth of July holiday weekend with more events in the Chinatown area, beginning at 4 p.m.:
» Dress up as your favorite “party animal” as The ARTS at Marks Garage has an opening reception for its “Zoonami” exhibit in partnership with the Honolulu Zoo Society. A DJ-run Secret Record Store pops up too; 6-10 p.m, The ARTS at Marks, 1159 Nuuanu Ave., 521-2903
» See writer/blogger Paula Rath’s first solo show of fashion-related fine art at designer Florencia Arias’ boutique, 1161 Nuuanu St., 384-9039
» The HASR Bistro will hold a wine tasting, with music from Randy DeVol, 4-6 p.m., and TRK (The Rhythm Klub), 6:30-9:30 p.m. 31 N. Pauahi St., 533-4277
» DJs Rhombus, KSM and Anarch will be spinning at Bar 35, with a $5 cover charge after 9 p.m. 1144 Bethel St., 537-3535
» The artists’ lofts in the Mendonca Building will be open from 5-10 p.m., with a secret beer garden in the courtyard, and “Shop Bop & Grind” in the downstairs walkway. 126 Smith St., shopbopgrind.posterous.com
» At Ong King Arts Center, artists will present a “Dark and Disturbed” theme show starting at 9 p.m. Performers lined up include ukulele player Taimane and her Madhouse Circus Universe show, the Polecats acrobat troupe, and Violetta Beretta and Miss Fortune of Cherry Blossom Cabaret. There’s a $10 cover charge after 8 p.m.; the center is free to visit between 6 and 8 p.m. 184 N. King St., 724-816-6585
Kalahiki has been making a name for herself on the jazz circuit. She won two Na Hoku Hanohano awards last year for Most Promising Artist and Best Jazz Album with “Salt.”
As for the 90-year-old Golden, the concert offers a rare opportunity for folks in town to hear him sing. The Laie resident is a regular on Monday nights at the Crouching Lion Inn in Kaaawa with the Bluesman Band, which includes his son Carl on guitar.
Concert organizer John Nichols said, “I listened to him one evening and was blown away by the reception,” calling Golden “very soulful and very personable.”
Golden has gathered a regular coterie of fans at his Monday performances during the past two years.
“With the songs I sing, I try to focus on a mature crowd,” Golden noted. “I’ve put together a pretty good following of around 50 people who are very faithful to us.”
His repertoire features Southern blues from such legends as T-Bone Walker and Ivory Joe Hunter.
Born and raised in Athens, Ga., Golden got an early start onstage.
“I started doing gospel in a Baptist minister youth group, and later my two cousins and I put together a quartet, singing in various surrounding churches. I was also a key singer during my junior and senior years at my high school glee club.”
Golden left home at age 19 and arrived in Hawaii in 1943. He was recruited to do civil service work during the years-long effort to rebuild Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack in December 1941.
After the war, he studied at the Honolulu School of Arts for a couple of years to learn design skills.
Golden went on to a business career as a co-owner of an airport service company until leaving Hawaii in 1974. He returned to Georgia for a short stint but came back to Honolulu to work in airport service until 1981.
His last job was as a dispatcher for Oahu Publications (owner of MidWeek and the Star-Advertiser) until he retired in 2004.
Golden’s love of music never waned, and while back in Hawaii he started singing as a featured blues performer with Bill Cox and the Over the Hill Gang. Later, he and a business partner briefly ran a recording studio on Lagoon Drive.
TONIGHT’S CONCERT is presented by the Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights, Committee on the Advancement of African American Culture and the Arts.
About 800 jazz and blues lovers dropped in to listen during last year’s event, said Faye Kennedy, co-chairwoman of the concert. She expects another good turnout tonight.
The annual event grew out of organizers’ desire to present a regular public event to support the values of Martin Luther King Jr. The concert “has no specific civil rights message, although we do believe in promoting justice and equality in the community,” Kennedy said.
“This is just a wonderful opportunity to bring together people to listen to some great music.”
For Golden, it’s an opportunity to share his music with a larger, even more diverse audience.
Growing up in Georgia, “it was a system of apartheid … with the white race on the top and the black race on the bottom,” he said. “When I came to Hawaii, there was some prejudice, but not like the organized discrimination back home.
“I love people in general, and living in Hawaii was what I had been looking for all my life. I could, and did, make friends of all ethnic groups, including white people,” Golden said. “One of my good friends was a former neighbor of mine, a white man who, coincidentally enough, was from a small town not far from Athens who left to work on the Alaska Pipeline.
“What I like about singing is that it gives me the opportunity to express myself with that feeling of friendship,” Golden said.