Did you know there's bluegrass and traditional music on at least four Hawaiian islands? The high lonesome sound is everywhere! Please click below to learn more about recurring events on a specific island. (If you're looking for information about bluegrass & traditional acts on each island, visit our BANDS page.)
BLUEGRASS HAWAII MONTHLY JAM SESSIONS
Please come and join us at one of our FREE jam sessions! If you play an unplugged traditional instrument, and like acoustic bluegrass, newgrass, mountain, roots, traditional country, Hawaiian, Americana, folk, Western, Celtic, and Irish music, you are welcome to come and jam along! (Listeners, of course, are welcome, too!)
We are often joined by great musicians from out of town. Be prepared for some really exciting and spontaneous pickin' adventures!
TIME/LOCATION:IMPORTANT!Our jams take place on
different weekends each month, and in different locations! Please
visit our home page for information about the next jam!
BRING: Traditional instruments if you have 'em; lawnchairs or blanket (important!); picnic and beverages if you want 'em
COST: FREE to all!
CONTACT: Mike Spengel at Half-Fast@hawaii.rr.com
HOW TO JAM WITH BLUEGRASS HAWAI`I:
Musicians with unplugged traditional instruments, playing acoustic bluegrass, newgrass, mountain, roots, traditional country, Hawaiian, Americana, folk, Western, Celtic, and Irish music, are welcome! Here are some tips to jam by:
- KEEP IN TUNE, preferably with an electronic tuner! If you're having trouble with this, ask someone to help!
- KEEP IN TIME! Many traditional styles have their own rhythmic structure and pace. Try to synchronize your rhythm and pace with the others. If you find this difficult, please play quietly and/or a bit away from the group, or you may throw off the rhythm of the other jammers.
- BLEND IN, DON'T BARGE IN! Unless you're singing lead or playing lead, your job is to support the others. If somebody else is singing, or playing an instrumental break, back off a bit.
- LEARN BY IMITATING someone else who plays your instrument the way you'd like to play.
- TAKE TURNS CALLING TUNES! Please don't try to dominate a jam by picking every song it plays. If you do, you may find that people are reluctant to jam with you. If the group asks for a song suggestion, consider the kinds of songs and style they've been playing. After your tune is played, invite somebody else to select a tune!
- TAKE TURNS WITH VOCALS! There are a maximum of four or five harmony parts on most tunes: lead, high baritone, tenor, baritone, and bass. Try not to dominate any single vocal part! Give your voice a workout by singing another part that is close to your range.
- INVITE INSTRUMENTAL BREAKS! If you're the person who chooses the tune, don't forget to invite people to take instrumental breaks after you sing the choruses in your tune! You can do this by calling out instruments, or names.
- CHOOSE APPROPRIATE TUNES!If the group asks for a song suggestion, consider the kinds of songs and style they've been playing, and try to keep your suggestions within the same genre.
- KEEP PICKIN', EVEN IF IT HURTS! If you make a mistake in the middle of a song, don't go back to do it over; just go on to the next thing in the song along with everyone else.
- LOOK AT THEIR HANDS! Learn to "read" the hand positions of the guitar players so that you can anticipate chord changes. After you've been jamming for a while, you might even want to learn the Nashville Number system, which helps jammers communicate chord changes quickly and easily.
- BREAK AWAY AND START YOUR OWN JAM! The big group at our jams seems to naturally focus on bluegrass, traditional roots, and old-time acoustic music. However, the parks we jam at are huge! Feel free to break away and start a NEW jam, if you'd like to focus on a particular style or pace, especially one that is different from the main group.
- JAM UNTO OTHERS! If you're new to bluegrass jamming, the best thing to do is to watch the other people in our group, and take your cues from them. The bluegrass community is known for being very welcoming and tolerant, and our gang will put up with just about any gaffe or rudeness committed by a newbie--but boorish behavior gets tiring in ANY group after a while. Nobody wants to be the kind of jammer that can clear a room!
- JAM WITH ALOHA! Remember: everyone is here to have fun! Please be kind, helpful, and friendly to your fellow pickers!
Bluegrass Jam at Big City Diner, Kailua
First Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Please join us at Big City Diner, 108 Hekili Street #101, Kailua for an evening of good food, good beer, and good jams! The music starts around 7 pm, but don't forget to come early and enjoy some of the excellent menu and give BCD some of our business. We play on the outdoor lanai, so bring a sweater and an armless chair if you need one. See you there!
Neal's Bluegrass Jam at Ruby Tuesday
Second Tuesday of Each Month
Moanalua Shopping Center (near Navy Exchange)
Second Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm immediately following guitarist Johnny Kamai. One more Tuesday night to have fun, 930 Valkenburgh St. There's an excellent and large covered outdoor lanai removed from traffic noise. Be sure to arrive early for some good grinds and bring an armless chair if you need one.
Jam at the Bonzer Front
Third Thursday of Each Month
Third Thursday of each month, jam at the Bonzer Front, Haleiwa, from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Want to make an evening of it? Call the Cafe Haleiwa at 637-5516 to make a reservation for dinner, and have pupus and drinks at the Bonzer Front, 637-3420.
Traditional Music Jam (TradJam)--O`ahu
Traditional music jam (Celtic and old-time music) with acoustic or acoustic-style instruments. Music stands are helpful; singers and beginners are welcome! TradJams usually happen on the first Saturday of the month in the afternoons from 3:00 til 6:00, depending on availability of space and conflicts with other musical activities.
DATE & TIME: First Saturday of the month from 3:00 til 6:00
LOCATION: Various; often Church of the Crossroads, 1212 University Avenue, OR Manoa Gardens Elderly Housing, 2790 Kahaloa Dr.
BRING: Acoustic and acoustic-style instruments; music stands
NOTES: Temporary parking passes are no longer being honored, but no passes or payment are needed in the Early School lot.
MOTTO: "We're slow, but we're fun."
Fourth Sunday of each month
Mililani Half-Fast Bluegrass Philharmonic Society
This group was formed to provide jam opportunities for novice bluegrass players. Since its inception more advanced musicians who can tolerate and even mentor beginners have joined in. If you fall into any of these three categories we'd like you to join us. We'll usually be gathering on the 4th Saturday of each month at 2:00 P.M. for three or four hours. Many of the things we play are taken from the Bluegrass Fakebook, Bluegrass Songbook, and Bluegrass Picker's Tune Book all available from www.amazon.com but we go pretty far afield from those, too, with a nod to Celtic and even doo-wop from time to time. We have some sort of pot-luck refreshments about half-way through our half-fast session.
For directions e-mail Half-Fast@hawaii.rr.com during the week before a session as the location may change occasionally. Space is sometimes limited, too.
First & Third Saturdays
Contradancers Of Hawaii (O`ahu)
Music and dancing in the Celtic tradition, as influenced by the American experience. The musical traditions of Irish, Scottish, and English settlers of the Northeastern United States were perpetuated in rural New England, and are experiencing a modern-day renaissance. The dances include jigs, reels, waltzes, hornpipes, and airs. The Contradancers Of Hawaii always have live music played by some really fine musicians! Visitors to Hawai'i are particularly invited to attend. Visit contradancehi.weebly.com for info.
The First-and-Third-Saturday of Each Month
Time/Day: 7:30-10:00 pm, on the first and third Saturdays of each month
Location: Atherton YMCA on University Avenue across the street from the University of Hawaii campus
Notes: Live music is provided by Whiskey Starship, no dance partner or experience is required, and dress is casual; wear comfortable no-scuff shoes.
NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: if you haven't Contra danced before, try to get there 15 minutes early for the dance orientation. The first part of the evening is especially good for getting a feel for what it's all about. The caller will explain and teach all the moves for every dance, all evening. All dances are taught and new dancers are welcome to jump in at any time.
For more information or if you are interested in carpooling, contact:
BIG ISLAND OF HAWAI`I
Willis Saturday Jam (Big Island)
Do you live on the Big Island of Hawai`i, or visit there frequently? Our friends Barry & Jan Willis in Kona host a monthly jam (called the "Willis Saturday Jam") at their lovely home in Kona Heavens on the Big Island. Jams take place on the first Saturday of each month. Each jam starts at about 1:30 PM and end at about 6:00 PM.
Listeners, singers, and pickers are all welcome. Barry and Jan encourage all acoustic players, not just bluegrass or country, to join the fun. Rain or shine - it doesn't matter - the jam can happen inside or out. Please bring a potluck dish to share!
Pickers, and listeners!, from other counties are welcome; the Willises will even pick you up at the airport and get you back in time for your flight home. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-325-0321.
Bluegrass Radio Show (Kaua`i)
Yeeeehaaaa, friends and neighbors! There's a bluegrass radio show on KKCR 90.9 and 91.9 FM on the Garden Island of Kauai every Tuesday from 2:00--4:00 PM. It's also broadcast LIVE on the station's website at www.kkcr.org. Join YA! (your Hanalei bluegrass deejay) as he opens the two-hour show with a half-hour selection of tasty Americana music. The remainder of the streaming audio show is devoted to the best of bluegrass! Click here for details!