Hawaii Tribune Herald - - IS­LAND BEAT -

Hawaii in Honolulu and the Maui Arts & Cul­tural Cen­ter this time around, play tonight and Fri­day night at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar in Kailua-Kona, Satur­day night at the Ka­mani Room in the Ha­puna Prince Ho­tel and Sun­day night at Ki­lauea Theater in Hawaii Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park. Show times are at 7 p.m.

Vig­nola told the Tri­bune-Her­ald on Dec. 30, his 51st birth­day, that since play­ing here, he and Ran­iolo have toured across the U.S., plus Eng­land, Switzer­land, Canada and Cuba — which he called “pretty amaz­ing.”

“We did some teach­ing for the ISA, which is the govern­ment-spon­sored (arts) school,” Vig­nola said of Cuba. “It was like go­ing into Har­vard. It was just un­be­liev­able how great of a mu­sic school they have there.

“Our main du­ties was to teach with the gui­tarist Tommy Em­manuel and Pan­cho Amat, who is a leg­endary Cuban tres (a gui­tar-like in­stru­ment) player. It was great to col­lab­o­rate with them and see that whole cul­ture, and just to see Cuba. It’s amaz­ing how close it is to the United States and how iso­lated it is at the same time.”

Vig­nola said ISA grad­u­ates are put to work by the Cuban govern­ment, play­ing mu­sic in the ho­tels.

“Al­most 24/7 in all the lev­els of the ho­tels there are these young peo­ple play­ing un­be­liev­able mu­sic — gui­tars and tre­ses and bass and vi­o­lin. The level of mu­si­cian is pretty re­mark­able over there, be­cause there’s noth­ing to do but prac­tice. There’s no dis­trac­tion,” he said.

Even though Cuba has a proud mu­si­cal tra­di­tion boast­ing lu­mi­nar­ies liv­ing and dead such as Perez Prado, Xavier Cu­gat, Desi Ar­naz, Ar­turo San­doval and Paquito D’Rivera, and the best school­ing a govern­ment can of­fer, there are still ba­sic chal­lenges mu­si­cians there face, such as a lack of ma­te­ri­als Amer­i­can mu­si­cians take for granted.

“I left some strings and some books and they were so thank­ful that we were there. I could tell that they were re­ally happy that we made the ef­fort to come visit them. That was re­ally touch­ing,” Vig­nola said.

Ad­mis­sion to both Kona shows is $30, which is the gen­eral ad­mis­sion price to all other Big Is­land shows. Gold cir­cle seat­ing is $45 in Vol­cano and $48 at Ha­puna. Tick­ets are avail­able at Gertrude’s and Kier­nan Mu­sic in Kona, Waimea Gen­eral Store in Parker Square, Taro Patch Gifts in Honokaa, and Hilo Gui­tars, CD Wizard, Hilo Mu­sic Ex­change in Hilo.

In­for­ma­tion and tick­ets are also avail­able by call­ing 896-4845 or on­line at lazarbear.com.

Vig­nola and Ran­iolo are also con­duct­ing a gui­tar work­shop at the Ha­puna Prince Ho­tel Ka­mani Room 10 a.m.3 p.m. Satur­day with an hour lunch break. The $200 fee also in­cludes ad­mis­sion to the evening’s show.

“All lev­els are wel­come and it’s kind of a ‘shut up and play your gui­tar’ kind of clinic. We don’t do a lot of talk­ing,” Vig­nola said. “We start with ex­er­cises. Ev­ery­body plays to­gether. We’re go­ing to hand out 15 lead sheets for songs. Ev­ery­body’s go­ing to play through them. We’re go­ing to talk about how to play a song. We’re go­ing to talk about how to play a melody. We’re go­ing to talk about how to im­pro­vise based on the melody, a la Louie Arm­strong. You al­ways know where you are in the song when you hear a Louie Arm­strong solo. We’re go­ing to go over some tech­niques on how to do that.

“But it’s ba­si­cally go­ing to be all play­ing. Peo­ple’s fin­gers are go­ing to be hurt­ing af­ter the clinic, I guar­an­tee.”

Vig­nola said he does what he does for the love of mu­sic and never looks at play­ing gui­tar as a job.

“I be­lieve that play­ing mu­sic is fun. First and fore­most, it’s a hobby. It’s my hobby,” he said. “My liv­ing is get­ting work, get­ting on the air­plane, get­ting in the car, con­tact­ing the venue. But when I get on­stage and play, that’s the hobby. That’s the fun part.”


Frank Vig­nola, right, and Vinny Ran­iolo at the 2015 NYC Win­ter Jazz Fes­ti­val.

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