• Variety of musical offerings sure to please even the pickiest of listeners
By Randi Somers
Blessed with so many outstanding musicians and performers, Homer residents and visitors have numerous opportunities to enjoy music and dance, topped by KBBI’s Concert on the Lawn this coming weekend.
Drawing mostly on local talent, KBBI public radio station stages one of the best-loved highlights of the summer. The 34th-annual concert will be staged at Karen Hornaday Park from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Every year, KBBI also imports performers from elsewhere in Alaska and the Lower 48. This year, the 14 acts include eight locals, two from Kenai, one from Anchorage and three from Outside.
Williwaw Marimba is a musical vortex of pure Alaska energy. It resulted from merging two of Homer’s vibrant African marimba bands: Zuva and Rufaro. The new band has 11 members, ranging in age from high school to adult, and has two mother/son combinations.
Williwaw Marimba plays primarily Zimbabwe music featuring complex, interlocking rhythms and including traditional and contemporary pieces, as well as several original compositions.
Their upbeat music draws dancers off their blankets to the grass. Band members regularly attend workshops to learn new pieces, both with visiting instructors and at Zimfest, which is held every summer in one of the western states. All the marimbas were made in Homer.
Dan “Dirty D” Pascucci has been performing in classrooms, coffee shops, bars and commode sections in pharmacies, tidepools, public meetings, festivals, karaoke clubs, libraries, cruise ships, kayaks, cowboats and canoes for more than 12 years in Alaska.
Amy Lou grew up in a log cabin in the Kentucky hills singing with her family. She’s been lost and found in Alaska, and now finds herself performing at Concert on the Lawn for the first time. Already a stalwart of the Alaska music scene, her latest offering is entitled, “Of Routes and Wings,” and is available on CD.
Karen Strid Quartet (plus two) features some of the finest jazz musicians in the state of Alaska. Dale Curtis, trumpet, lives in Ketchikan. Brenda Hune, vocals; Jim Davis, sax; and Heidi Herbert-Lovern, bass all live in Anchorage. Drummer Curtis Bates lives in Soldotna and Karen Strid lives here.
Guinness Records plays traditional Celtic music, including danceable fiddle tunes and sing-along songs. They are Trina Uvaas, Bobby and Randy Creamer and Jon Crocker.
Alex Mabey is a young folk-pop singer/songwriter who writes all her own music. She has opened for Amy Grant, Craig Morgan, Wynona Judd and Sara Evans.
Florida’s Austin Miller sets out on his first-ever tour of Alaska this summer. He just released his second album, “More Than One Way,” in June. This collection of songs has been described as “lush as a full moon on the horizon.”
Formerly a blues band, Gary Sloan’s American Music has added folk — plus early rock and roll — to become an American Music band. They are Gary Sloan, Jim Lasiter, Robert Howard and Dean Reeves.
The Anchorage band Nervis Rex has been bringing high energy, SKA dance music to Alaska for 16 years, including several performances for Concert on the Lawn. Nervis Rex is Scott Emery, Justin Somaduroff, Danny Whitfield, Cody Keim, Anthony Reed and Carlos Martinez.
Uplift is a Roots-Reggae band with a positive, uplifting message mixed with a hypnotic reggae beat. They’ve been playing several venues in Homer for the past six years, often donating their performances to nonprofit organizations and benefits.
Shawn Zuke and Firelight’s music reveals itself as an expression of melodic prayer with messages of faith, divine truth and the resonance of her natural compassion for all life and connection to the earth. Shawn started playing with her band Firelight in the spring of 2012. She’s delighted about her newly released album “Undefined” and thrilled to share it with her community.
Jonathan Crocker is a folk singer/song writer based on the south peninsula. He plays regularly around Homer and released his 13th full-length solo album, “Today at Walking Speed,” in May. He used to be a full-time touring artist, but now teaches middle school in Anchor Point, while recording and performing part-time. He also plays in Guinness Records.
Hillary Arwen is a singer/songwriter who has played throughout Europe and America. Like a town crier, she sings the stories of her travels from sidewalks, terraces and music venues. Her songs, mostly based in storytelling, weave a web of dark alleys, dirty deeds and triumphs of the soul, often ending in surprise twists and creative imagery.
With diverse backgrounds, One Take’s music is an acoustic amalgamation drawing on the soulful traditions of rock, reggae, jazz, blues and bluegrass. Led by the smooth alto and fiddling of Danielle Aslanian, the songwriting of guitarist and singer Daryle Keefer, and featuring Dennis Ward on bass and Brian Corbett on percussion, the quartet’s easy-flowing harmonies, restrained jamming and plaintive but optimistic songwriting are well-suited for Homer’s eclectic audiences.
K’alik’a means “Song” in the Athabaskan language. This is a group of diverse and experienced musicians from around the Kenai Peninsula. Musical influences from jazz, blues and rock are prevalent with this high-energy group. Standards mixed with original works from noted pianist Johnny B., Bunny Swan and Matt Boyle make this a fun band.
Blues Troller comprises Demitri Kimbrel, Colin Tolman and Eric Fenger.
907 is a high-energy classic to modern rock band featuring Rob Agular, guitars, Dave Ochoa, bass and lead vocals, Frank Atkins, drums and lead vocals and Rob Russell on guitars.
‘A totally joyful event’
Concert on the Lawn is a FUNdrasier/social event, connecting a vibrant community to support such a vital community resource as Public Radio KBBI AM 890. This event is made possible by Homer musicians, volunteers, supportive organizations and members. KBBI staff and volunteers work hard to host this event.
With the concert no longer broadcast on KBBI, checking out the concert in person is the only way to go.
Enhancing the performance, numerous booths surround the grass “dance floor,” providing food and beverages, arts, crafts and other fun. Hula Hoops swing, bubble blowers gurgle and neighbors and friends visit while sitting on blankets or dancing on the grass.
Early arrival is advised for parking in the small lot across the street from Karen Hornaday Park. Volunteer attendants will be on hand to help you find a spot. There is no parking in front of residences, at South Peninsula Hospital or Kenai Physical Therapy.
Overflow parking is allowed on the north side of Fairview Avenue, Homer Medical Center, the offices of Drs. Raymond and McCallum and the Homer Independent Living Center.
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