Entertainment Lifestyle 

Event intended to spark ‘more music everywhere’

Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story!

Nalani Jenkins had been making music most of her life as a singer and musician, both solo and as a member of the Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning trio, Na Leo Pilimehana. So in 2020, when she learned about Make Music, an international musical festival that takes place each year on June 21, she decided that Hawaii should join the party.

“We were doing some work with a person who had lived in France, and they told me about this wonderful celebration that started there and had spread all over the world,” Jenkins said. “I had never heard of it, so I looked it up and found out there were 1,000 cities in 120 countries, and I was like, ‘Where’s Hawaii?’ Hawaii didn’t have a chapter.”

Jenkins thought that didn’t seem right.

“We make music here all the time,” she said. We’re really good at it. And it’s such a cultural and local thing, we needed to have this celebration here and join the rest of the world.”

Jenkins stepped up, contacted the international Make Music organization, and then founded Make Music Hawai‘i. When Jenkins presented the inaugural Make Music Hawai‘i event on June 21, 2020, it had to be virtual. As venues reopened, the event went live and in-person at Bishop Museum, in bars and nightclubs, and wherever people wanted to make music. It continues to have a virtual presence as well.

The annual event has spread from Oahu to most of the neighbor islands, and Make Music Hawai‘i 2023 will include musical events on Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and the Big Island. The performances are free to all and participation is open to anyone who wants to take part and signs up.

Participants in years past have included Jenkins and her Hoku Award-winning peers, Jerome Koko and Bobby Moderow, but entertainers of all genres and experience levels are welcome, including people who have never performed for a public audience.

Jenkins emphasizes that performers can take the stage for free and that participation includes having the time and place of their performance listed on the organization’s website.

“The platform is a stage, but in this case it’s more of a virtual platform to highlight Hawaii’s artists,” she said. “Where it goes from there is really up to them, but I know the importance of being able to practice your craft, share it, have other people join in with you and enjoy it. That’s the spark I hope that’s going to start more music everywhere.”

Among the island entertainers who experienced a career boost through Make Music Hawai‘i is Honolulu resident Rexie Ah Chong. A veteran entertainer with a day job to pay the bills, Ah Chong was struggling to find club work in 2021 when the person who was booking acts for a Chinatown nightspot suggested she look into Make Music Hawai‘i.

“I went ahead and started making a profile with their platform online … and then I got a call right away to do a quick lunchtime performance in downtown Honolulu, which I thought was so awesome,” Ah Chong said. “I got to connect with the sound engineer (for Make Music Hawai‘i) and do gigs for his company and (for) Next Door almost every month for the whole 2022, and I’ve gotten sponsorships as well through Music Day. So it just really has been a blessing in a sense because I was just looking for gigs but got way more out of it.”

The connections Ah Chong made also resulted in several recordings, including an upcoming project with Hoku-winner Kapena De Lima.

This year, Ah Chong is taking a break — she is pregnant and her due date is June 20.

But for Mililani resident J.Lyn, Make Music Hawai‘i Day is a date she’s not going to miss.

J.Lyn will be celebrating her birthday on June 21 with a gig at Buffalo Wild Wings in Pearl City.

“I love performing. It’s my first love with entertainment,” she said. She had heard about the event through the NAMM Foundation, a supporting organization of the National Association of Music Merchants, when she was teaching elementary school music classes.

“During the pandemic, the NAMM Foundation was a great way for music educators to get involved in the community, and they had this thing called Make Music Day. After I did some research, I wanted to get involved as soon as possible. I saw that not only was it an event where people performed on the day, but there was also a song swap.”

It was through the Make Music Day song swap program in 2021 that J.Lyn connected with Nigerian singer/songwriter Davani Abdul. She took one of his songs, “Tonight,” and recorded it her way; he took one of her songs and did it his way.

“It’s really cool, just taking an idea and going along with it,” J.Lyn said of the collaborative process. She’s awaiting word on a song swap partner for 2023 but is counting down the days remaining until she takes the stage at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Sourced From Nigerian Music

Related posts

%d bloggers like this: