NAMM 2013 is in the bag and what a great show it was. If you've never been to NAMM, the enormity of it all is quite something to see. Also, if you're willing to venture away from the ukuleles and into the millions of square feet that is NAMM, you might just run into Stevie Wonder and other musicians who come to check out the cool, new toys.
[Above; Mark Hirabayashi, Rick Rasay, Gary Rogers and Kevan Gibbs]
Back in Hall E, however, the Nalu booth was jumping from start to finsh. This was a special NAMM because it was the first time that all four Nalu partners were in the same place at the same time.
All week long, our great friend Rick Jitchaku played the heck out of his Nalu Kaiko'o Tenor Cutaway. From jazz standards to his wicked accompaniment to Boston's "More Than a Feeling" coming from the next booth, Rick showed all attendees the range of the instrument and the depth of his talent. We can't thank him enough.
[Left: Rick Jitchaku]
It wouldn't be NAMM if Derick Sebastian didn't stop by and hang with us. From jammin' in the booth, playing our new Papakea ukulele, hanging out at night playing more music or going on a midnight Wing run...it's always a great hang.
[Right: Mark Hirabayashi, Gary Rogers, Kevan Gibbs, Derick Sebastian and Rick Jitchaku]
Aldrine Guerrero stopped by to wish us well and find out what's new. His website, Ukulele Underground is, without question, one of the best resources on the Web for ukulele instruction and user input.
[Left: Glen Hirabayashi, brother to Nalu partner Mark and member of The Aloha Boys with Aldrine Gurerrero]
[Above left: jello cheesecake; Middle: the menu at Bob's; Right, chi chi dango]
One of Nalu's great friends, the wonderful Sarah Maisel, stopped by throughout the show to say hi, thrill us with her new and distinctive interpretations of the great american songbook, and jam with other artists.
[Right: Mark Hirabayashi, Sarah Maisel, Rick Rasay and Glen Hirabayashi]
The doctor was in da house as Jason Arimoto (PhD Strings) stopped by a couple of times knocking out some traditional Hawaiian songs with members of Nalu and giving us his take on the 80s with a few classic hits.
[Left: Jason Arimoto]
At last year's NAMM, a couple came by, fell in love with our ukes and walked out of the show with them in their possession. This year rolls around and who comes back? Dan and Mariana. These two teachers (middle school & high school) came back to NAMM to play in the ukulele circle that happens every show and tell us how much they love their Nalu ukuleles.
When Joel Dela Merced was playing, we heard a gentleman say, "I think his wrists are double jointed." For some, that would be an odd compliment. However, for Joel, it's just part of being really exciting to listen to and watch. Thanks for being a good friend to Nalu.
[Left: Joel Dela Merced]
We build ukes for players. So it never surprises us when musicians from all walks stop by to check us out.
[L to R: Mark Hirabayashi, Kevan Gibbs, Bruddah Mark,
Gary Rogers, Ben Benavente (with wife, Ariana), Derick Sebastian, Rick Rasay, Andrea President and multi-platinum producer Claytoven Richardson]
This year, we welcomed Peter deAquino into the Nalu Ohana. Peter graced our booth with his playing several times throughout NAMM, from traditional Hawaiian music to jammin' with Sarah Maisel to ukulele rap (ask him...it's great). Peter is a true original and we were lucky to hear him play.
[Left: Peter deAquino]