Friday, April 23, 2004


One of Kauai's finest, Chandelle, has already gained some mainland exposure. The group, from left, Mandee Duyanen, bass and backing vocals; Kevin Penner, drums; and Jessica Penner, guitar and vocals.

Making an impact

KAUAI ROCKS!!! Well, at least one band from there does. Out of the usual group of old-time blues rock and Jawaiian bands comes Chandelle, a trio of melodic rockers who have the skills, talent and wherewithal to make an impact outside of the Garden Isle.

Befitting the band's name -- a flight maneuver designed for an aircraft to go as high as it can in the shortest amount of time by using its momentum -- Chandelle (pronounced shawn-DELL), in its short three-plus year existence, has already gotten some mainland exposure, thanks to the original song "Alaska."


» 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. tomorrow at the Hard Rock Cafe, 1837 Kapiolani Blvd., with Second String Heroes (from San Francisco), Linus and Harrison. Admission $8, 21 and over; $10, 18-20. Call 955-7383.

» 7:30 p.m. to midnight May 1 at Club Pauahi, 68 S. Pauahi St., with Persephone Myth, Harrison and Push the Pedal. Admission $6, all ages. Call 521-7252.

The leadoff single and video from their recently released debut album, "Alaska" was the band's calling card that ultimately won them a Broadcast Music Inc. songwriting competition that was part of last year's Kauai Music Festival.

Before that, Kevin and Jessica Penner and Mandee Duyanen took their time developing their sound, and recorded their album in the winter of 2002 with production help from Kevin's friend from British Columbia, Canada, Travis Saunders, at the Penners' converted garage studio.

(Jessica and Mandee have known each other since back in the day when they were band geek buds at Kapaa High, while Canadian transplant Kevin originally moved to Hawaii in 1996 to join the band Jessica was in, Spooky Tuesday. The two would marry two years later.)

See also:
John Berger's Island Mele review, with mp3 clips.
Jessica is the band's songwriter, and she couches her yearning, searching lyrics with simple yet impressive melodies. "Alaska" is a good example of that, as she uses the lyrical imagery of the northern-most state's maddeningly long nights and days as a metaphor of coping with what life hands you, albeit with some modicum of grace and spiritual faith.

"I usually write when it's most inconvenient," she said. "You know, when I'm trying to sleep, and it's 1 a.m. During those times, I have a digital dictaphone nearby that I use. Other times, I write things out, and I also have a little tablet that I keep song themes in. But by the time I bring the songs to the others, I've pretty much worked out, besides the lyrics, the bass line, melody and chords."

Jessica and the band didn't think "Alaska" was a song that would ultimately win the BMI competition. But judges like Lisa Loeb, Lamont Dozier and Jesse Harris (who wrote Norah Jones' breakout hit "Don't Know Why") thought otherwise, and the victory secured them a spot in a BMI-sponsored showcase in New York City, as well as inclusion on a nationally distributed artist-and-repertoire pick compilation.

Chandelle will perform at 9 p.m. tomorrow at Hard Rock Cafe.

SPOOKY TUESDAY was one of those Christian bands that, while homebred, made its reputation elsewhere, and the Penners certainly got their fill of life on the road, doing upwards of around 200 to 300 shows during their time with that band.

"We got a lot of experience in touring," Kevin said. "And the band actually recorded in places like Chicago, Nashville and Los Angeles."

But it's the band's intentions of making sure the name of Chandelle is out there for a local audience, hence the two consecutive weekend gigs in town, with one tomorrow at Hard Rock Cafe, and the other next Saturday at Club Pauahi downtown.

And after two years of dedicating themselves to honing their sound and building up their home studio, Chandelle is more than ready to show what they got to the waiting public.

"We're also hoping to get local distributorship real soon for our album," he said. (It is available on the band's Web site at

The Penners said they were anticipating the day they were going to break away from Spooky Tuesday.

"It was a painful process at times with the previous band," Kevin said.

"I really started writing for our own band around 2000," Jessica added, "and I told Mandee that you better start learning bass, because you're going to be playing with us."

It's all part of a well-thought-out career plan for Chandelle, keeping in mind the desirability of keeping both the songs and the lineup simple and manageable.

The Penners said they prided themselves on the fact that it's just three people generating the music.

"It's more impressive as a three-piece," Jessica said, adding that they've turned down offers from other musicians wanting to join the band.

The band Chandelle, in Manoa.

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.


E-mail to Features Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --