Nearly three years ago, Jesse Shiroma left Streetlight Cadence and put aside his accordion to begin a new chapter in his career path, becoming a degree candidate in the University of Hawaii’s Library and Information Science program.
He is graduating this fall but this weekend, he rejoins his Streetlight musicians in a one-night reunion at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 3) at Blue Note Hawaii.
Even before he graduates, he already has a job. “I count myself incredibly lucky to have fallen into a steady and secure position as an archivist at the Hawaii State Archives where I am helping to lead the build-out of our new Hawaiian Music Collection,” said Shiroma. “This entails the handling, indexing and digitization of over 15,000 individual phonodiscs from three collections, including (the collection of) the legendary Harry B. Soria Jr. of ‘Territorial Airwaves’ fame.”
Long story short, Shiroma said he feels blessed to “still play with music on a regular basis, ha-ha.”
As an archivist, Shiroma is tasked with the broad responsibilities of assisting patrons who may have a range of inquiries with genealogical, land rights, and historical consideration.
On a more intriguing and cultural note, Shiroma may have left the ranks of the popular recording and busking band, Streetlight Cadence (whose motto in earlier years was, “Will play for Food,” which evolved into a TV series), but has brought his skills and his accordion to the ranks of the four-piece Uchinaanchu band, Yuttai Kwattai, performing and perpetuating original and traditional Ryukyuan folk music, in the indigenous language of Okinawa.
“We are a four-piece (group) including Brandon Ufugusuku Ing (led vox and guitar), Derek Fujio (sanshin, flute, oboe and saxophone), Noah Kutaka (bass) and myself on accordion,” said Shiroma.
The group has a widening following, with its fresh, contemporary arrangements of Ryukyuan folk tunes, performed in the native tongue at the local Okinawan Festival, bon dances, and private events.
“Our goal is to increase the visibility of our native tongue and inspire Okinawans in Hawaii and elsewhere to embrace their heritage whether through the creative arts or otherwise.”
Shiroma is eager to reunite with his colleagues, who have experienced numerous membership changes in recent months. “If it’s feasible, we’ve definitely entertained the idea of an annual get-together to make a bunch of noise with the entire gang,” he said. In recent months, membership has been steady with three, compared with four, in the recent heyday of Streetlight success.
“I love how the sound of the band never got ‘better’ or ‘worse,’ but rather gracefully changed in texture and tone as members came and went,” he said. “That said, it’s going to be a blast with Jonathan (Franklin), Ben (Chai), Clara (Stegall) Brian (Webb) Chaz (Umamoto), Maia (Wolfe), Matt (Mariconda), and two Evans (surnames not available) and myself on stage all at once.”
Once an accordionist, always an accordionist, for Shiroma. “Busking is a blast and I still occasionally find myself hitting the streets if I feel the need to bother others with some accordion tunes, ba-ha-ha. That said, I couldn’t be surer that this decision to further my academic career was the right call. The balance it has brought to my life has invigorated my spirit and even encouraged greater creative work in my art!”
He treasures the memories with Streetlight Cadence “and will always wish them well. While I do not foresee myself rejoining for any significant period of time, I hope we continue to find these little sparks of reunion where we can enjoy the love of music and adventure that initially brought us together.”…
When: 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 3)
Where: Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort
Tickets: $25 and $35, at www.bluenotehawaii.com or (808) 777-4890
Watch for Zare Anguay’s shaka
Zare Anguay (pictured), a former Bright Kid, is in the midst of his Broadway debut, as a swing actor in Disney’s “Aladdin,” at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Swing actors understudy several ensemble roles, so if you attend a performance, you may not easily spot him in the cast.
But in the final curtain bow, you just might spot Anguay as the audiences shout and cheer.
You’ll need to have sharp eyes because he likely will be in the same Arabic costumes with his fellow actors. So look for the actor, flashing a quick shaka sign. Local performers often do this, as part of their hometime pride. …
Yemun Chung celebration of life Nov. 13
A Celebration of Life for the late Yemun Chung (pictured), best known as the manager of The Krush, will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the New Hope Sanctuary at Sand Island. Doors open at 5:45 p.m.
He died at age 78 of an apparent heart attack on Sept. 11 at a Las Vegas hospital.
Chung was a popular talent manager and an entrepreneur extraordinaire. He was engaged in a myriad of projects, including recording production, show promotion, and
Chung and his wife Gloria were former Honolulans who migrated to Las Vegas 13 ½ years ago, to help raise her grandchildren.
Thus, he had to abandon a legacy of celebrity management, recording production, and show production, in an era when managers often had p.r. appeal.
Chung was a reporter and producer in the 1970s at KGO Radio in San Francisco, but ventured to make his mark in Hawaii, rubbing shoulders and elbows with some of Hawaii’s celebrity managers and recording icons beginning in the 1980s and eventually evolved into one of the most active talent-touting managers himself through the early 2000s.
Following his gig with The Krush, Chung collaborated with such show biz icons as Tom Moffatt and Jack Cione, before relocating to Las Vegas. …
And that’s Show Biz…