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Anuhea shows the new face and sound of Hawaiian music

Published May 10, 2012 11:32 am

Co-headlining tour with Mishka arrives in Utah at Bar Deluxe.
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Yes, Anuhea, a singer-songwriter from Maui, can play the ukulele.

But before you get the wrong idea, consider this: The first concert she attended was the Foo Fighters.

Her own songs contradict the stereotype of Hawaiian musicians. While Don Ho might have paved the way, "Tiny Bubbles" is far from what Hawaii singer-songwriters like Anuhea find for inspiration.

"I'm sure there are tons of misconceptions," she said in an interview from her home in Maui. "I've talked to some people who are surprised to find out that there is a scene here other than just the traditional Hawaiian style of music. There's a style of our own and a genre of music that combines Hawaiian vibes with the island rhythms of reggae, and in some cases with pop, rock and even hip-hop. Hawaii's got a real unique thing going on out here, and the people here grow up with it, are making it themselves, and now it's spreading to the rest of the world."

Anuhea will perform at Bar Deluxe on May 14 to promote her new release, "For Love," as part of The Love & Roots Tour, co-headlined by Bermuda-raised reggae star Mishka.

While the Hawaiian singer is considered a big success on the islands, she isn't as well-known on the mainland, despite pleasant, breezy pop songs that sound crafted in the islands, yet share influences with hip hop and rock. (No apparent influences from "Tiny Bubbles.")

In an interview, Anuhea talked about the experience of performing for the Dalai Lama, about her new album and about her hometown.

How does one get to be specifically requested to perform by the Dalai Lama?

Performing for His Holiness was definitely one of those experiences I'll remember forever. A committee of organizers in Hawaii decided on me and Jack Johnson and submitted the suggestions to His Holiness and his representatives, and they approved. The event Pillars of Peace was for students only, so I'm sure that was a factor in picking the entertainment. I was honored to have met him, and even got to honi (kiss) him on his cheek after giving him a lei! Crazy.

How did your most recent album, "For Love," build upon the foundation of your debut, "Anuhea"?

My first album got my name out there. I had been doing the coffee shop and bar band thing on Maui for a few years, so to complete a full studio album and have it on store shelves, not only at Maui coffee shops, but all over the state, and on iTunes and in Japan — it was amazing to finally be 'legit' in a way. I learned a lot more about the industry. When I started writing new songs, I was in a different place in my life. A few years older and wiser, I feel I kind of grew up a bit. The songs I wrote all fell into the category of love so well that we decided to call the album "For Love."

Ever been to Utah?

I've only been to Utah two times, and both times were very in-and-out. And the shows I've done there — one with The Green and one with SOJA — both have had great turnouts and good vibes.



Twitter: @davidburger —

Hawaii 5OK: Anuhea with Mishka

When • Monday, May 14, at 9 p.m.

Where • Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $12 in advance, $14 day of, at SmithsTix






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