On the Scene
John Berger

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Knock wood!
Blonde koa makes
a pretty instrument

JOHNNY'S GOT A BRAND NEW BASS: Folks who attended Congressman Neil Abercrombie's "Hawaiian Music Celebration" fund-raiser last Thursday may have noticed John Koko of the Makaha Sons playing a "blonde" acoustic bass instead of the familiar black one. Koko's new bass is a hand-crafted koa instrument made for him by Claude Kouchi in Los Angeles. Kouchi recently finished a second koa bass for Koko to use on the mainland and is ready to make two more for other bass players. For info contact Koko at john@makahasons.com ...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Buz Tennent, who is celebrating today... also to Don Ho, Makapu Ho'opi'i and Abe Weinstein (Saturday), Shari Lynn (Sunday), Nona Beamer (Monday), John Rampage (Tuesday) and Tiera Efhan and Kawika Kanae (Wednesday) ...

CONGRATULATIONS: To the Hawaii Theatre Center on receiving the 2005 Outstanding Historic Theatre Award from the League of Historic American Theatres. HTC President Sarah Richards accepted the award. It honors the HTC for demonstrating "the highest standards of excellence in its vision, execution of the physical restoration and community service" in operating the Hawaii Theatre ... And to Justice Moon. His new CD, "50 City," hit No. 2 in the "Unsigned Artists" category on the MySpace Music chart on MySpace.com last weekend ...

COME MEET COURTNEY: Courtney Kessell is celebrating her graduation with a public party Sunday at Rumours. The invite includes pupus and entertainment. Beverages are "buy it yourself." Kessell is known to sports fans as the Star-Bulletin's 2005 Pitcher of the Year. Others know her as the daughter of local radio veterans Kriss Hart and Lisa D. Doors open at 4 p.m. ...

THE RIGHT TOUCH: There seems to be no end to the number of oldies groups and boomer bands playing Top 40 hits of the '70s and '80s. It's great to see the original members of bands from that era get together for reunion concerts, but many of the newly assembled acts wouldn't have made the cut back when the Dimensions, Glass Candle, Natural High and Nomads were headlining some of Waikiki's top clubs. It was a pleasant surprise to catch A Touch of Gold on Sunday and find a local oldies act with good voices, strong arrangements and a polished high-energy show ....

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

John Berger has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972. Contact him at jberger@starbulletin.com.

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