COURTESY OF RONAN ZILBERMAN
Guitar trio Cerro Negro, left, returns to Hawaii to perform with Cheryl Bartlett on Friday in a benefit concert at the rRed Elephant for Hawaii Hearts Helping Adoptions.
Former Miss Hawaii realizing her dream
Cheryl Bartlett is in the midst of a 10-year-old dream -- that is, to release her first CD by the end of the year.
Music for a good cause
Cerro Negro with guest Cheryl Bartlett
» Place: rRed Elephant, 1144 Bethel St.
» Time: 7 p.m. Friday
» Tickets: $20, with all proceeds beyond costs going to benefit Hawaii Hearts Helping Adoptions
» Call: 524-8416 or go online at honolulu-boxoffice.com
Bartlett, a former Miss Hawaii, has been known around town as a singer, actress and dancer. But her composing skills will come to light, not only on her upcoming CD, tentatively titled "Like Ocean," but this Friday night in performance as she opens for guitar trio Cerro Negro at downtown's newest venue, the rRed Elephant.
The nationally acclaimed group from San Diego returns to Hawaii after a three-year absence for a benefit concert for Hawaii Hearts Helping Adoptions (H3A). Their Spanish guitars and vocals blend with Latin and Middle Eastern percussion to create the polyphonic gypsy-influenced, flamenco-rooted and jazz-styled sounds that they're known for.
The trio will be launching the sale of their recently released fourth CD, "Live," which includes a few cuts from previous concerts recorded in Hawaii.
Bartlett's own backup band (who also played on her CD, produced by Audy Kimura) will include Bobby Nishida on guitar and Brazilian drummer Rojerio Araujo. Middle Eastern dancer Nuriyya will make a guest appearance during Bartlett's set.
She started writing songs about a decade ago, and it was "very much a family project," she said. "My parents and sister, and my former husband, have been very encouraging to get the CD finished." Having just finished getting her master's degree in science, "at this point in my life, I have the initiative and energy and time to put it together." Besides continuing her own business as a singing teacher, Bartlett said she hopes to start her clinical fellowship in speech language pathology soon.
"The album title was inspired by an article I read in one of my medical journals," she said. "It said that the makeup of bodily fluids is very similar to the chemical makeup of the ocean, which I found very fascinating.
"I've always had the feeling of a personal, intimate relationship with the ocean, whether I was living in Norway, Guam, and certainly here in Hawaii. A lot of my songs refer to or reflect the nature of the ocean or water."
Bartlett is also herself a volunteer for H3A. "Myself and concert publicist Sonya Fabrigas have a close relationship with its board, and I suggested to them that we make the concert a fundraiser. It's a nice opportunity to get the mission of this fairly new nonprofit organization out to the public.
H3A is dedicated to providing accessible health services to adopted, soon-to-be adopted, and foster children with emotional or physical disabilities or special needs.
Her personal interest in H3A stem from the fact that "my mother was adopted, so I always felt very close to the issues that come from living in an orphanage and then being adopted," she said. "It can be a difficult transition, especially if the child is disabled, which makes the process more challenging. Also, since I work with people with disabilities, this was the right thing for me to support."