Raised on Maui, Willie Kahaiali'i (a.k.a.Willie K.) has been playing music and entertaining audiences since the age of 10. His father Manu Kahaiali'i, one of Hawaii's most respected musicians, recruited Willie and his brothers to perform in his band. From the very beginning, Willie was influenced by and exposed to a myriad of musical genres; from the Hawaiian, Jazz, and early R&B he heard at his father's side, to the sounds emanating from the radio and TV from musical giants such as B.B. King, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Willie Nelson. It is no wonder why Willie has evolved into such an eclectic and charismatic singer/songwriter/entertainer. By his high school graduation, Willie was playing in as many as 8 bands from country and western, salsa, rhythm and blues, rock, and of course Hawaiian. A few years later he moved to San Francisco determined to make it in the music scene there.
After several years in California, Willie gained some notoriety opening for groups such as Cecilio and Kapono. But after one too many earthquakes, he decided to return home. Back on Maui, with renewed determination, Willie focused on recording an album of his own. His first three albums changed the direction of contemporary Hawaiian music. He swept up multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (The Hawaiian Grammy's) from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, and continued to record for a new company, Round Island Records. After two more recording efforts, he took a break from recording his own music and teamed up with a new talent, Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom. He has produced three albums with Amy for The Mountain Apple Company. He earned 2 more Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for Producer of the year, while Amy won Album of the Year, Female Vocalist, Song of the Year, and Hawaiian Album of the Year awards.
In 1999, while working on Amy's new album, Willie filled the studio with his own music. Between takes and on breaks, Willie kept the recorder going and finished a Christmas album, "Willie Kalikimaka."
"Willie Kalikimaka" reflected Willie's favorite songs for the season and fulfilled the public's demand for his version of "O Holy Night," recorded some years back as a single. "Away in a Manger" was almost completely recorded when Willie K ran into Willie Nelson on Maui. The conversation resulted in a duet of this incredible rendition of this Christmas classic and an experience that will be etched into Willie K's musical career. The common language of music created an instant friendship. "Willie Kalikimaka" ended up being the biggest selling Christmas CD in 1999 and hit local sales charts at the #1 spot, beating the new recordings of Mariah Carey and Santana, while rising to #11 on Billboard Magazine's Worldbeat charts.
The beginning of 2000 also brought forth a new CD, "The Uncle In Me", which compiles the best of Willie's music into a single recording. The songs, which have been Willie's trademark pieces, have been unavailable on the market for years. "The Uncle In Me" brought these songs back to the ears of Willie K fans, digitally re-mastered to highlight the musical and vocal talents of Willie K.
The end of the century and millennium brought some very exciting changes for Willie K. After 5 years devoted to the advancement of Amy Gilliom's career, Willie has decided to re-launch and pursue his own solo career again, while also developing other talent. In December, Willie announced the formation of his new company, Maui Tribe Productions – an independent entertainment enterprise.
In all his professional years, Willie K. has played with and/or opened for such musical giants as B.B. King, Santana, Al DiMeola, Willie Nelson, Prince, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Rait, Jackson Browne, Mick Fleetwood, George Benson and Jimmy Buffett … just to name a few!
By the end of 2004, Willie had garnered national attention with appearances on VH-1's "100 Greatest Love Songs", Extra, performing the halftime shows on Monday Night Football's Jets vs. Raiders game, and the 2004 NFL's Pro Bowl. In 2004, Willie also received his first Grammy nomination for his collaboration with Amy Gilliom for their "Amy & Willie Live" CD.
In 2005, Willie began performing with Eric Gilliom, Amy's brother, and formed The Barefoot Natives. The duo created a natural blend of Hawaiian contemporary sound that has their signature stamp on it. Both CDs, "Barefoot Natives" and "Slack key Circus", received multiple Hoku nominations, winning one Hoku award in 2007 for "Best New Artist". The duo continues to perform their music along side one of rock-n-roll's historical icon, Mick Fleetwood, in his Island Rumours Band. -- WEBSITE
Orla Gartland is a 17 year old singer/songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. Known for her brilliantly original quirky folk pop, Orla's songs burst with personality and catchy melodies. These songs all tie together by her distinctive, celtic-infused vocal and trademark animated live performances
Having racked up 8.5 million hits on youtube and building 30k likes on Facebook, Orla independently released her first single 'Devil on my Shoulder' on June 17th 2012, which ranked up a top 10 iTunes placement in over 17 countries. -- WEBSITE
Orla uses the Oscar Schmidt OU8TLCE Ukulele.
Premier Oscar Schmidt Autoharpist, singer and Colorado folk legend Roz Brown has built a mighty impressive career as a captivating entertainer and recording artist performing and recording classic folk music on his own terms for over thirty-five years.
Born June 19, 1937 in Madison, Wisconsin Roz started his musical career in the 5th grade when his dad bought him his first trumpet. He played in school bands through high school and continued playing in Navy bands.
In 1975 Roz went to work as an electronics technician at Cobe Laboratories in Lakewood, Colorado. It was then that he started to really dive into the folk music scene.
"The folk music of the '60's had always stirred something deep in my soul says Roz. I was already hitting folk music clubs and festivals after work most every weekend when I happened to catch a life changing performance by Autoharp Master Bryan Bowers at the Oxford Hotel Cruise Room.
Bryan and I ended up hanging out after the concert till the wee hours and shortly afterwards I bought my first two Autoharps from him and early on I found I could actually connect with a lot of the folk songs I loved on those Autoharps and through the years I have managed to carve out quite an incredible musical career with my 400+ and ever growing playlist."
At 74 Roz shows no signs of slowing down as he sets course in 2011 with a brand new release produced by his son, Memphis/Nashville keyboardist and producer Paul Brown titled; A Cowboy and his Sweetheart.
Inspired by his sweetheart Barbara, A Cowboy and his Sweetheart is a stellar collection of romantic love songs, many of which were originally recorded by Country legend Don Williams.
"I've been listening to these songs over and over since the 1970's when Don Williams recorded many of them, Says Roz. So it's been a great joy to finally record my own versions of them."
As an active Colorado mountain rescue volunteer with Alpine Rescue Team based in Evergreen Colorado and a volunteer ranch hand for his Colorado sweetheart Roz still performs a staggering 300+ dates a year and tirelessly gives back through his music by making retirement and nursing homes a part of his regular touring schedule.
"Not long after I bought those first two Autoharps from Bryan, explains Roz, I ended up in the hospital to have knee surgery. Seeing how lonely a place like that could be I told myself that once I recovered I'd go back to hospitals and nursing homes to entertain every chance I got to help people take their mind off of whatever pains, illness or lonely times they may be going through."
Also a significant part on Roz's regular touring schedule is the historic Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, CO where Roz has been entertaining for thirty years now.
"Roz Brown is a minister of good vibes" -Mike Herr (Autoharp Quarterly) -- WEBSITE
Pearl Charles - The Driftwood Singers
While most of their contemporaries are surfing the blogosphere daily to figure out what new hip direction they should take their band in to get some notice, LA's Driftwood Singers have taken a very un-contemporary route. The duo of Kris Hutson and Pearl Charles play a simpler kind of folk that one might've heard on the southern front porches of 1930's America.
Kris, in suspenders and all, rotates between guitar, banjo and mandolin while harmonizing along with Pearl, who in garb fit more for the compound on Big Love, strums her autoharp. The pair of 19 year olds has already logged more than 100 shows since they began playing last fall, with tours up and down the west coast and trips to Nashville and New York City. Not ones to turn down many shows, they recently played 3 shows in one day across the greater Los Angeles area, a morning stop in Oxnard, afternoon gig in Glendale and an evening show in Silver Lake.
It's that kind of determination to play whenever and wherever possible that has started gathering them attention from music fans and critics alike including No Depression who posted some of their earliest home demos. They were recently (and fittingly) featured on a Carter Family tribute album alongside Calvin Johnson and Kimya Dawson.
Their debut EP, Look! carries on where their demo's left off. After attempting to record the songs in a studio, they decided to record them at home on a hand held cassette recorder that was then cleaned up in mastering. The resulting 5 songs are showcased in a way that lets you feel the warm crackle of the phonograph they appear to be coming from. Inspired by beat poetry and murder ballads, songs like "Coco Ellis", "Come Across the Tracks" and "Rosalee Little" are irresistible gems for anyone with an old soul and an ear for the yester year. -- WEBSITE
Annie DeTemple - Old Man Markley
Old Man Markley are not your run-of-the-mill band. They're not a traditional bluegrass band, nor are they a typical punk band. Instead, the band meld elements of both styles into a cross-pollinated "newgrass" amalgam that has resulted in a boot stomping good time for fans around the world.
Old Man Markley were quickly embraced by the punk rock community with their incendiary live performances, and at the same time the band were also warmly accepted by bluegrass fans, earning them a #8 debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart with their 2011 release of Guts n' Teeth. From rivets to rhinestones, even the world of glossy country music embraced OMM, yielding them a slot at California's country festival mecca, Stagecoach.
After two years of relentless touring and winning over thousands of fans, Old Man Markley returned to the little house in Southern California where it all began to record their follow-up album, Down Side Up available March 5, 2013. -- WEBSITE
Johanna Söderberg - First Aid Kit
Prodigious Swedish teenagers Klara (17) and Johanna Söderberg (19), AKA First Aid Kit, have been gathering fans apace since the release of their ‘Drunken Trees’ EP in February 2009. They are proud to have since released their glorious debut full length, The Big Black and The Blue.
Spending their formative years drinking from the fountain of American classics – everything from Buffy Sainte-Marie (you can hear FAK’s revamped version of her 1964 protest classic ‘Universal Soldier’ here, to the likes of Conor Oberst – it shaped their way with song writing, arrangements and even the use of a second language. Audiences have been falling at their feet, enraptured by their pure, shimmering voices in harmony. -- WEBSITE
Mike Lynch is a musician (multi-instrumentalist), composer, and music educator in the Seattle, Washington area (USA) and is currently a Music Specialist at Christ The King School in Seattle. He teaches pre-school through 8th grade music at the school and currently has 4 classes of ukulele as well as 3 classes of guitar. He also teaches vocal music, world music, drum circles, hand bells and music appreciation.
Mike Lynch has been known in liturgical circles for over 4 decades with churches everywhere singing his compositions from their parish hymnals. A number of his Praise and Worship hymns are currently found in the publications of OCP (Oregon Catholic Press). A few of his most beloved hymns are "Bread, Blessed & Broken", "Father Of Peace", and "In The Land There Is A Hunger". Mike Lynch is currently in the process of composing a new mass entitled "MASS OF THE ISLANDS" which begs for ukulele accompaniment. -- WEBSITE