COURTESY HAWAII PUBLIC RADIO
She’s a genre-bending musician
It took Barbara Higbie's husband to take a job at Bank of Hawaii to get the multitalented singer-songwriter and their 6-year-old daughter to move to the islands from Berkeley, Calif.
Place: Atherton Performing Arts Studio, Hawaii Public Radio, 738 Kaheka St.
Time: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $20 general, $17.50 HPR members and $10 students
Happily ensconced in their Kailua home since January, Higbie is now seeking to play with as many like-minded musicians here as she can -- that is, when she isn't on the mainland to honor concert and recording bookings for the rest of 2008.
She just finished up a recording session in the Bay Area when she called Monday afternoon to talk about her upcoming concert debut in the cozy confines of the Atherton Performing Arts Studio on Saturday night.
Equally adept on piano and fiddle, Higbie prides herself on being an un-categorizable musician, although she made her reputation as part of the stable of artists on the Windham Hill record label, back in the day when New Age was the rage.
"I consider myself to be a bit of a chameleon," she said. "I've written a lot of catchy, acceptable music over the years, one of the most recognizable being a piano instrumental I did called 'To Be' that came out on a label sampler. ... I'd call what I do jazz-influenced folk music."
Some friends of hers will be joining her Saturday night, including Kilin Reese on guitar and mandolin and singer-songwriter Louise Taylor, another recent transplant (from Vermont) and, coincidentally enough, a Kailua resident as well.
"She's pretty amazing," Higbie said. "We knew of each other through a mutual friend, and we recently did one of those word-of-mouth things at Ward's Rafters."
THE YOUNGEST of six, Higbie first played the piano at age 4 and later moved to the violin when she was becoming interested in folk music at age 15. A world music influence also comes into play, beginning at age 13 when she and her family moved from Indiana to Ghana, where her father volunteered to help with the country's business development. After graduating from Mills College, she returned to West Africa on a fellowship to collect traditional music.
"What I like about the keyboard and violin is that you can play any kind of genre of music," she said. "Being a genre-bending musician, I consider that a strength of mine."