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Performers at World Whale Day
2017 World Whale Day main stage schedule:
- 9:30am Haiku Hillbillys
- 10:15 Blessing
- 10:30 Manutea Nui E
- 11:00 Derick Sebastian
- 11:45 Darren Lee of Burn'n Love
- 12:30pm John Cruz
- 1:30 Alto Reed of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
- 2:15 Lily Meola
- 3:00 Dr. Nat & Rio Ritmo
- 4:00 Maoli
- 5:00 Eli Mac
From the time he was a young boy growing up in Palolo Valley on Oahu, John Cruz knew he was destined to play music. Whether inside or outside the home, his earliest memories were filled with song. His Hawaiian grandmother had a beautiful voice and sang in church. His mom loved the Motown sound and had an extensive record collection. His dad played country music and taught John to perform live shows at a very young age. His brothers and sisters were all musically inclined and, along with numerous aunties, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends -- they have surrounded John with the gift of music for his entire life.
Although John grew up in Hawaii, it wasn't until he moved to the East Coast in 1983 that he developed his own style as a singer/songwriter. During his 12 years in the Northeast, John cut his musical teeth in subways, coffeehouses and bars and clubs. He spent six years in theatre and dance companies, performing at Lincoln Center and other top venues. As a member of the prestigious New World Theater, John played the lead role in The Dance and the Railroad by Tony Award winning Broadway playwright David Henry Hwang of M. Butterfly fame. John's outstanding performance was nationally recognized in the finals of a collegiate drama competition.
A gifted singer/songwriter, Maui-born Lily Meola has been impressing audiences since her teen years. Legendary musician friends like Willie Nelson has taken her on tour. And the country icon, Kris Kristofferson and Lukas Nelson all contributed to her highly acclaimed debut CD “They Say” which Rolling Stone called “An excellent album” and referred to Lily as "A rising star, she’s not to be missed."
Other reviews are just as impressive.
“There is much Mana in this young woman's spirit and it translates beautifully through her artistry.” - Michael McDonald
“You will be immediately addicted to the sound of her voice.” - Steven Tyler
“Lily Meola’s surprising voice – smoky, sultry, tender and strong, comes from somewhere timeless, yet somehow new. This voice springs from a place so deep in the country and jazz traditions that she will be heard as fresh and original by her generation, and deeply rooted in the greatest music of all time by mine.” - Jackson Browne
"Lily is a force of nature who as an artist defies all genres of music. I am a huge fan and look forward to watching her career blossom." - Michael Buble
"Lily is a talented and beautiful young woman - inside and out. She has a great future ahead of her. I am proud to know her and glad to help her in anyway I can." - Willie Nelson
Darren Lee is a world-renowned musician and performer. He has won a multitude of awards in his career including the esteemed “World Elvis Competition” and is the longest running Elvis tribute artist in Las Vegas history. His hit show, Burn’n Love at the Maui Theatre, is the “#1 Show in Hawaii” on TripAdvisor.
A natural performer, Darren says, “Once you’re in the bubble, it’s like nothing else matters. All that matters to you is everybody in the world has come to see you that night and it doesn’t matter that down the block Tom Jones is playing, or Kiss is playing. You’re in the middle of this bubble and that’s all that matters.” That’s why in 1988, he decided to perform as Elvis professionally. He joined the Elvis, Elvis, Elvis show portraying the young 50’s Elvis and it was his brother that helped him hone his dance moves. Darren Lee has taken the stage front and center, throwing his creativity into Burn’n Love, and wowing audiences four nights a week.
Eli-Mac was born in Makati City, Phillipines and raised in Haiku, Maui as Camile Velasco. At 18 she moved to L.A. to pursue her music career and in 2003, Camile came in as a runner up (top 10) on American Idol Season 3. Over the course of the next decade, she would work to discover her truest musical self while collaborating with some of the industry’s top producers. On October 31, 2014, Eli-Mac released her debut project, "Dubstop EP" produced by Live Animaux and Eli-Mac. With inspiration from the independent artist movement, "Dubstop EP" consists of five songs that showcase Eli-Mac’s vocal craft and reflect her undefinable style. Eli-Mac culminated this EP release with a 3-week mainland tour with two other major island reggae groups, The Green with J Boog and Rebel Souljahz. In October 2015, Eli-Mac released her latest single “You Don’t Say” which debuted on Island Radio 98.5 at #1 and completed a 7-show West Coast tour with Rebel Souljahz.
Back in Hawaii, Eli-Mac has linked up with some of her music influencers and decided to change her name to fit her image (Eli-Mac is Camile in reverse). She is currently in the studio producing her first full-length album, with music that quenches her passion -- reggae. Blending Hawaiian reggae with Jamaican reggae makes her delivery so uniquely Eli-Mac, it is something you must hear to fully understand. Her stage presence is very high energy, immersing the crowd in her every move. Eli-Mac also has a creative style of expression with her high pony tails, bright colored clothes and winged eyeliner, which adorns her on and off stage.
Maoli (meaning “Native” in Hawaiian) started in Maui as Glenn Awong, a 14-year-old vocalist with a passion for music. In his sophomore year, he began writing original music at the encouragement of his high school teacher. It was also during this time that Glenn started recording demos of his songs. By the time he reached his senior year, Glenn was ready to share his music with a greater audience.
In 2005, Glenn and the band he formed, “No Boundaries”, won a Battle of the Bands competition on Maui. With numerous performances already under his belt, Glenn then formed Maoli in 2007 with a new lineup of talented musicians, including bassist Kana Akiu-Corpuz. Maoli took the islands by storm in 2008 with their groundbreaking debut album entitled “Groovin”, having one hit after the next (“No One”, “Write Me A Letter”, “So Incredible”). In 2010, Maoli did it again with their second release, “Rock Easy”, featuring another treasure trove of #1 hits (“Breaking My Heart”, “Whisper”, “Rock Easy”). Their third album “Arise” garnered a national and international audience, exploring Maoli’s love for various genres of music through more hits (“Blew it”, “Something About Your Love”, “Time To Get Over”). Maoli’s road to success continued as they toured the islands and the world promoting their very own unique Island sound.
In 2012, Maoli welcomed new band member, guitarist and vocalist Nu’u Sing-Kahalehau. Nu’u hails from a background of musicians, including his father, Shane Kahalehau, otherwise known as the “Hawaiian Homeboy”. But Nu’u isn’t a stranger to Maoli, as his talents were also featured on the “Rock Easy” album. Maoli also embarked on a new journey in 2012 by touring on a national level from California to New York and beyond. They have played with some of the biggest and most world-renowned acts in reggae music such as J Boog, Katchafire, Fiji and others. Maoli recently dropped its newest EP “One Eighty” featuring #1 hits (“No Way”, “Sun Will Shine”, “Let It Go”, “Fight the Rain”) penned by Glenn and Nu’u. Pick up the new EP available on iTunes now.
Visit Haiku Hillbillys Website
The Haiku Hillbillys are a 7-piece band featuring: lap steel, violin, banjo, guitar, accordion, keyboards, bass, drums & vocals. Their music is predominately originals, along with covers that span many musical genres including bluegrass, folk, blues, reggae, country, funk, soul, jazz, rock, and surf. Their style has been called “FUNKY GROOVIN’ POETIC FOLK!“
The Haiku Hillbillys have performed their unique country flavored Jam-Band music for over 18 years, mostly on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
Visit Derick Sebastian Website
A quiet thunder fuels the humble spirit and powerful expression of ‘ukulele virtuoso Derick Sebastian, producing a sensational talent with a natural ability to captivate the soul through the glory of his music. His critically acclaimed instrumental album, "From His Heart", scored a Na Hoku Hanohano nomination in 2010. He has played alongside ‘ukulele ace Jake Shimabukuro and warmed up the Castle Theater for R&B stars like Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men. Derick recently opened for modern country music marvel Sara Evans, and world-renowned Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. He's also shared the stage with Grammy-winning artist Jason Mraz, making his ‘ohana proud with an exhilarating performance at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s packed concert.
Derick and his uke have also charmed professional sports avenues like MLB, NBA, PGA,
NCAA, ESPN and EA SPORTS, with events in Hawai’i and across the Mainland. He’s completed projects with PIXAR Animation, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and films such as Life’s An Itch and Behind the Rainbow. Derick’s appearance on E! Entertainment Television’s Total Divas earned his art unique exposure with the popular reality show, which resulted in multiple deals to place his music on the network. Drive, determination and success has taken Derick international in recent years. He was a featured speaker/performer at TEDx Santa Cruz, became the ‘ukulele instructor for the Andaz Maui at Wailea, and hit a variety of stages in China during a full-fledged tour. His latest releases include the tribute "His Glory" and the compilation album "Island Style Ukulele 2", which features Derick’s instrumental rendition of Maui’s “Ulupalakua”.
Dr. Nat & Rio Ritmo
Visit www.drnat.com for performance announcements.
Dr. Nat & Rio Ritmo have been playing their unique blend of Tropical Latin Dance music since 1998. Playing both cover and original songs in various rhythmic styles including Salsa, Timba, Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia, Bolero, Cha Cha, Samba and Samba Reggae -- you can see them live in Makawao every month at Casanova night club.
Alto Reed & Friends
Visit Alto Reed Website
Alto Reed is one of the Founding & Current Members of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. Now with his brand new album "Legacy", Alto brings his legendary classic rock style to the stage, performing "Turn the Page", "Old Time Rock & Roll", and other rock, blues and classic hits.
Joining Alto at World Whale Day for an exclusive performance:
Tim Hackbarth - bassGina Martinelli - vox Rick Bodinus - Drums Jerry Kovarsky - keys Nils Rosenblad - guitar
Manutea Nui E
Visit Manutea Nui E Website
This family owned and operated group of professional Maui entertainers showcases a wide range of Polynesian cultural performance styles and entertainment. They perform regularly on Maui, from private wedding ceremonies and events, to large conventions and luau shows.