Off the beaten Path

Troy Fer­nan­dez plays along with his daugh­ters, Tia and Tory, most Mon­days, Tues­days, Fri­days and Satur­days from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in front of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­ket Place, 2330 Kalakaua Av­enue. Some­times, they play Sun­days, too.

Waikiki Magazine - - ILOVE WAIKIKI - By Al­li­son Schae­fers

Just a short walk from Waikiki ho­tel rooms and all the com­mer­cial­ized as­pects of tourism that line Kalakaua Av­enue, Hawai­ian mu­sic en­ter­tainer Troy Fer­nan­dez shares his aloha by of­fer­ing up free street con­certs.

It’s a gift to watch Fer­nan­dez, who at 50 years old is con­sid­ered one of Hawai‘i’s top ‘ ukulele artists, pick his strings in such an in­ti­mate set­ting. You won’t find many other three-time Hawai‘i Academy of Record­ing Arts’ Na Hoku Hanohano award win­ners (that’s the lo­cal equiv­a­lent of a Grammy), play­ing on the same row as the guy dressed up in the An­gry Bird cos­tume or the for­tuneteller.

“They just don’t know how good it is out here,” says Troy Fer­nan­dez, af­ter giv­ing a re­cent street con­cert that at­tracted about 70 peo­ple from all over the world.

Fer­nan­dez said he likes play­ing to an ever-chang­ing crowd. He also likes shar­ing his mu­sic with peo­ple who can’t af­ford to buy his CDs or go to a paid show.

“Ev­ery­one is wel­come. Mu­sic is my gift so I don’t tell any­one to go away,” says Fer­nan­dez, who was raised in a Palolo hous­ing project. “I like to think of my­self as an am­bas­sador for Hawai‘i.”

Fer­nan­dez’s mes­sage of Hawai‘i, his love of surf­ing, and his mu­sic res­onated with vis­i­tors Su­san and Gil Burns of Lodi, Calif.

“It’s amaz­ing to see some­one with this kind of tal­ent giv­ing a con­cert right on the street,” Gil Burns says. “We’ve really en­joyed it and we’ll be back.”

The Burns’ were lucky to catch one of Fer­nan­dez’s im­promptu shows. While Fer­nan­dez has been a fix­ture on Waikiki stages and in Waikiki ho­tels for decades, he only started en­ter-

tain­ing on the streets about five years ago.

“I heard my daugh­ters, Tia and Tory, singing at home. They were really good so I de­cided that they needed an au­di­ence,” Fer­nan­dez says. “They were hav­ing so much fun, they talked me into play­ing with them. Now, I’m just the open­ing act.”

Fer­nan­dez says he’ll keep singing and play­ing on Waikiki’s streets un­til his pop and hip-hop singing daugh­ters get dis­cov­ered.

The fam­ily plans to move to Los An­ge­les in 2014 so 11-year-old Tia and 13-yearold Tory, dubbed “TNT,” can get their own chance to reach star­dom. A three-time na­tional award win­ning re­porter, Al­li­son Schae­fers serves as the Waikiki Bureau Chief for the Honolulu Star-Ad­ver­tiser. Based in Waikiki, she cov­ers Hawaii tourism and Waikiki is­sues. Con­tact her at as­chae­fers@ starad­ver­tiser.com.

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