Thursday, May 28, 2015

1st Year Off the Islands

A year ago to date both Ali and I packed up our last of our things, said goodbye to our friends and families, and moved over to Eugene, Or. It has been quite a year and a journey to say the least. Moving from Maui to 'Oahu was easy: I had a bunch a friends moving with me and virtually most of my family being less than an hour drive away. Moving to Eugene was different not only because I literally knew only one person in town, but also I was now surrounded by different cultures that I wasn't fully used to. Ironically, I really felt like a tourist.

As time progressed I became more and more at peace with myself and found I had something I haven't had in a long time: silence. Silence in the mind to work out thoughts and ideas that had become dormant due to running around gigging, working at the shop, going to school, and teaching. I've had the time to wander, physically and mentally, and to shake off some of the dust that had been accumulated.

Though I haven't been gigging nearly as much as I used to, I have been working at home setting up my basic studio and working on recordings with Logic. Though the material I have been writing is still at it's infant stage, I hope to have new material out in the months to come. I also have had the pleasure of working with beat maker Scott Ohtoro on some new projects he has been producing. While we will see most of the releases later on in the year, here is one that came out earlier this month which features artist Montclaire on vocals. 

If I am out performing it is usually with the Hawaiian, jazz, and blues group Olekona. We've been doing some gigs around town and an ep in on the way. I really enjoy playing with this group of people and the occasional "geek out sessions" on Derek Trucks. I will post future gigs here and on our website (almost done!). Here is us at the kickoff for the Uketoberfest last year (we have grown since then!).

Myself, Maggie Matoba, and Matthew Riley

I also have been teaching and working in partnership with local Eugene music shop Pacific Winds Music. Though originally with a focus on band instruments and repair, Pacific Winds has opened up half the store with 'ukuleles. It has been an honor and privilege to spread the word of the 'ukulele with these folks. To me working at Pacific Winds Music and meeting more of the 'ukulele community here embodies an important part of the spirit of Eugene: Genuine and honest, unpretentious and welcoming. While I cant speak on behalf of everyone here, I enjoy the fact that the people directly in my life and what I do day in and day out reminds me of just that.

Since moving I have met many wonderful and inspiring people that have been a great source of motivation and inspiration. I know that without the support of my family and friends I would have never made it this far. Thank you for that and I look forward to another adventure filled year.

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