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East Meets West Festival features cross-cultural performances and workshops

By Staff | Jun 28, 2018

The Mike Lewis & Friends Quartet will perform with award-winning jazz and R&B vocalist Ginai.

WAILUKU – With a lineup of professional jazz fusion and multicultural dance artists, Jazz Maui’s 2018 East Meets West Festival is set to begin on June 27 and run until July 4.

The festival features a series of concerts by renowned arists, community and student performers, as well as hands-on music and dance workshops with visiting artists.

Produced by the Arts Education for Children Group (AECG), the festival encourages cross-cultural dance and musical collaborations in a variety of traditional and original styles inspired by east and west.

Featured concerts on Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. will be the first community-produced events held in the new King Kekaulike Performing Arts Center in Pukalani.

On Friday, enjoy a Best of Blue Note Tribute with the Mike Lewis & Friends Quartet featuring award-winning jazz and R&B vocalist Ginai. Lewis and Ginai are regular performers at the Blue Note Honolulu, where they present a series of tribute concerts recognizing some of the great women of song, including Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole and Sade.

Ginai is a three-time Hawaiian Music Award recipient and the winner of two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for her albums “Hot Club of Hulaville,” “Django Would Go” and “Hula Joe & The Hut Jumpers.”

University of Hawaii Maui College Jazz Band Director Lewis has recorded and toured with artists such as Sammy Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Sonny and Cher, Billy Joel, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, Bruno Mars and more.

Lewis and Ginai will also perform select numbers with King Kekaulike’s Na Ali’i Big Band and Maui’s Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra.

Friday’s concert also includes a series of cultural dance performances led by guest choreographer Sammay from San Francisco. She is the founding artistic director of Urban x Indienous and a resident artist with the API Cultural Center.

She will perform solo and with local Hawaiian and contemporary dance troupes, including the UH Maui Dance Club and Dance International Foundation. The concert will also feature a performance by Zenshin Daiko.

On Saturday, the Mike Lewis & Friends Quartet featuring Ginai will offer a second Blue Note tribute to the great women of song. The Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra will also take the stage, and the Na Ali’i Big Band will close the evening in a special performance joined by Lewis on trumpet and vocals by Ginai.

Opening Friday’s pre-show concert at 4 p.m. will be the June Skies Combo and Tanama Colibri. On Saturday at 5 p.m., the June Skies Combo will be joined by Saxophonist Joie Taylor. Food will be offered for purchase on both nights. Ticket prices for festival performances are $15. To purchase tickets, visit jazzmaui.org.

For those who wish to have a more intimate music experience, on Thursday, June 28, at 6 p.m., Mary Anne Fitch and Nam Le Viet of Lahaina will host an at-home concert featuring the Mike Lewis and Friends Quartet with a performance by the June Skies Jazz Combo. East Meets West-themed pupus and wines are included for $100 per person. For reservations, call (808) 283-3576.

Now in its second year, the East Meets West Festival also encourages visiting artists to offer workshops and clinics, so that community bands, musicians and dancers can learn from the visiting artists. Free vocal and music clinics will take place at King Kekaulike High School on June 27 from noon to 4 p.m. A dance workshop with Sammay will take place on June 28 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Omori Studio at 1 p.m. Go to JazzMaui.org for more information and a detailed schedule. To register, call (808) 283-3576.

On July 4, there will be a Concert in the Park on the Lahaina Library lawn from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring two of Maui’s top jazz ensembles: the Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra and the Na Ali’i Big Band. Over 70 members of the community will perform. The event concludes appropriately with fireworks.

For more information, call (808) 283-3576 or visit JazzMaui.org.