Michael Tanenbaum is a Celtic inspired instrumental guitarist based in Honolulu, Hawaii. His music is inspired by the power of the land, light and ocean waters of the islands. Originally from Canada, he found a new sound in the island's Hawaiian Slack Key guitar music that resonated within him and was inspired to re-explore the guitar after 25 years at the piano. In time, he incorporated his northern Celtic music roots with the tranquility and beauty of his new home in a fusion of what he now calls locally, "Celtic Slack Key".
He's an innovative composer/guitarist of instrumental music that can be described as visual "Guitar Tapestries" - music you can SEE. Storytelling for him takes the form of acoustic journeys through changing landscapes. His major guitar influences include: Bruce Cockburn, Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Don Ross, Alex De Grassi, Pat Metheny, Franco Morone and Makana.
Michael has composed music for film and modern dance extensively. His music has been scored in several films: the local food movement film "Ingredients Hawaii" (2012), the giant wave surf film "Finding Aloha 2" (2010) and the documentary "Hawaii: Long Story Short" (2009) which explores Hawaii's geological emergence from the ocean floor.
For guitar performance and compostion, he placed among the top 5 finalists in the 2009 Fingerstyle Guitar Competition at the Canadian Guitar Festival in Kingston, Ontario Canada. In the same year, his Big Island inspired tune "Road To Waimea" was nominated for Best World song at this year's New Music Awards in the Barrie New Music Festival in Canada.
In 2003 Michael won a silver medal for original composition in the World Championships of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles - an Olympic style competition among musicians from around the world.
Michael graduated from Brown University where he was first introduced to computer and electronic music. Since then, his fascination with all things acoustic and digital has led him to bring those two worlds together in a variety of engaging ways. From live performance art to intricate studio work, the elegant union of these different worlds is his life work.
Michael Tanenbaum - acoustic guitars
In the Garden - 2002 (film music compilation: multi-instrumental)
First Sketch - 2003 (solo acoustic guitar instrumentals)
Take Two - 2010 (Electroacoustic duets w/ Nick Gertsson)
Songs For The Cure '10 - 2010 (Compilation cd which includes my track "To Dance With You" - Live duet w/Stephen Inglis)
All Thumbs - 2010 (solo & duo instrumentals)
Songs For The Cure '11 - 2011 (Compilation cd which includes my track "Moon And The Spoon")
SLAP HAPPY & BLUE (Live @ McCabes)
Moon and the Spoon (w/Reverb)
ROAD TO WAIMEA
TO DANCE WITH YOU
IF ONLY (duet w/Nick Gertsson) [stereo]
A MILE FROM HOME (duet w/Nick Gertsson)
WAVE RUNNER (duet w/Nick Gertsson)
TO DANCE WITH YOU (duet w/Stephen Inglis)
OLD NEW WORLD (film cue)
BALI JAVA (film cue)
HONG KONG HONKY TONK (film cue)
Pair strikes right chords
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'String Theory" will be put into practice tonight, courtesy of two musicians eager to perform on ins...'String Theory" will be put into practice tonight, courtesy of two musicians eager to perform on instruments not usually associated with them.
Both Michael Tanenbaum and Stephen Fox made their initial reputations on piano and shakuhachi/bamboo flute, respectively. But strings will be the thing at their debut concert at the Honolulu Academy of Arts' theater, as both men have found a fresh, new voice through the guitar and, of all things, the hammered dulcimer.
Fox pulled out the folk-related instrument back in July 2002 when he realized that the funk band he was in wouldn't be an appropriate musical choice for playing in the Contemporary Museum's gallery during its annual Art Spree event. So instead he brought down the hammered dulcimer he occasionally played, and invited Tanenbaum to join him, having originally met him a couple of years before at an open-mic night at Anna Bannana's.
The sounds of the hammered dulcimer and finger-style acoustic guitar blended in an unexpected way that excited and delighted the duo -- so much so that the two working musicians-composers have been waiting nearly a year-and-a-half to follow up on that initial gig.
"We definitely connected that day," Fox said, "and because of our work in films and television, we almost have a cinematic approach to our pieces. It's the start of a journey that, because of our similar aesthetic, we hope we can develop into a touring show."
Tonight's concert will also feature saxophonist Randy Wheeler and violinist Jennifer Nacke, a friend and accompanist from Los Angeles that Tanenbaum plays with during his time that he lives and works there.
Tanenbaum is also pleased that the young, slack-key player Makana will be joining him and Fox as well. "He was a tremendous influence for me to go back to the guitar after playing piano for so long," he said. "I'm one of his biggest fans. I like how he pushes the boundaries of what is generally thought can be done with a six- and 12-string guitar."
Fox has also played with Makana in the past, backing him up on keyboards on some of his gigs.
"The concert will be acoustic-based," Fox said, "kind of multiethnic and folky. Mike and I share a musical eclecticism -- he plays some in the Celtic style, with me occasionally bending the strings of the dulcimer, like what you hear in Asian music.
"This is the first time we'll be performing in an ensemble setting -- Mike usually records as a solo guitarist. We're mostly taking Mike's pieces and adding melodic and textural layers to them."
Fox said the hammered dulcimer (an instrument he first picked up more than 20 years ago during his self-described hippie days) "probably originated in Persia about 2,500 years ago, and then went worldwide throughout Europe and Asia. The British Isle settlers then brought it to America."
"Stephen approaches it like a piano and a percussion instrument," Tanenbaum said with admiration. "It's such a different and unique approach, and his velocity of playing is so fast and accurate."
"I just like to take what's usually been considered a sweet, folky instrument to something with more guts," Fox added.
"Mike and I are both trying to move up our musical profiles with this concert. I can't think of any other venues like the Academy's theater that can do this kind of stuff. It's very much listening music, geared for concert performance."
Tanenbaum mentioned that those familiar with the music of Alex de Grassi, Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, the world fusion jazz band Oregon and the Turtle Island String Quartet would probably enjoy "String Theory."
Both musicians attribute the added years of life and school experience to understanding their relatively new and respective instruments better.
"It's been like a congruence of truths," Tanenbaum said. "Right now, at this time, the guitar feels like my calling. I just had to go through the discipline of playing the piano."
"What we found out playing together," Fox said, "and of being of such 'advanced age,' is that it shows how similar we approach the music. We share the interest in ethnic stuff, also the years of composing for both film and choreography have taught us how to be subtle yet emotional in the voicing of chords."
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Guitar heaven descends on the rRed Elephant Café this weekend when three of Hawai‘i’s best guitarist...Guitar heaven descends on the rRed Elephant Café this weekend when three of Hawai‘i’s best guitarists join in what promises to be an amazing concert. The players are Makana, Stephen Inglis and Michael Tanenbaum—and anyone who’s heard them knows they’re like the three tenors of guitar. They have played together often in various duet combinations, and after many requests they decided to go for the ultimate trio.
Makana is certainly best known of the group. A protégé of Sonny Chillingworth, Makana has grown into a fiendishly good slack key player. Inglis was guitarist for Palolo Jones, then went solo and moved to the Bay Area. He returned to O‘ahu recently, having transformed his excellent rocker chops into slack-key/fingerstyle technique. Tanenbaum is definitely of the fingerstyle school, weaving a delicate fabric of notes reminiscent of the late Michael Hedges.
Though both Makana and Inglis sing, 90 percent of the show will be guitar only. Each player will do a bit of solo work, duet combinations will shift about and all three will team up for a few numbers—what they’re calling a fret-a-fret. rRed Elephant is a dedicated listening environment built with acoustics in mind, so the sound will be superb. It doubles as a recording studio, and these concerts will indeed be taped for broadcast, but you’ll have to go to Japan to hear it.
Live @ rRed Elephant, 1144 Bethel St., Sat. 5/27, 7:30pm, $22.50, 545-2468, [www.honoluluboxoffice.com], 550-8457
Bad Girl, Good Gig
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Singer/songwriter Deborah Holland makes her Hawai’i debut this Friday in the very cool acoustics of ...Singer/songwriter Deborah Holland makes her Hawai’i debut this Friday in the very cool acoustics of rRed Elephant. Holland has a superb voice and equal skill as a songwriter.
Based in Los Angeles, she has an impressive list of credits including Animal Logic, a trio with Police-man Stewart Copeland and jazz legend Stanley Clarke. The gig landed her on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show, VH-1 and MTV. Add in duets with Jackson Browne and Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and it becomes quite a resume.
As a solo artist, Holland’s music ranges across folk, rock, blues and jazz. Her fourth solo album, Bad Girl Once, is getting some good airplay on an international level. Her reviews practically glow with praises for the warmth and wit of her writing.
Uber-guitarists Steve Inglis and Michael Tanenbaum, violinist (and Weekly contributing writer) Kevin Cravena and vocalist Carrie Alison, will play a set and provide their very skilled assistance for Holland’s vocals. Inglis is pretty well known around town since his days fronting Palolo Jones. We missed him during his foray to the Bay Area, but he grew into an even more impressive player in the process. Tanenbaum’s delicate finger-style pluckings are unforgettable; hearing him once is enough to make one a fan. Alison is a recent transplant who has been performing with Tanenbaum here and in L.A. Together, they say it will be a mix of quirky, politically incorrect tunes.
rRed Elephant CafÃƒË†’s main stage, 1144 Bethel Street, Fri 8/25, 7:30pm, $17.50 advance, $20 at the door, tickets online at [www.honoluluboxoffice.com] or charge by phone at 550-8457, info at 545-2468
Spellbinding String Work
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'Extreme Guitar -- Italian Style!' For Italian guitarist Franco Morone, the show must go on, even...'Extreme Guitar -- Italian Style!'
For Italian guitarist Franco Morone, the show must go on, even if there's a wedding to play earlier the same day.
After playing Saturday on Kauai at the request of a fan of his, he'll fly down to Oahu to join his friend and Hawaii contact Michael Tanenbaum three hours later for an intimate show at downtown's rRed Elephant.
Tanenbaum has played at the rRed Elephant before, and likes the place's vibe.
"I'll be opening for him," he said, "and I'll be playing some of my new tunes, as well as compositions that feature the work of my mentor and teacher from Los Angeles, Richard Peikoff. And I hope Franco and I will be able to do a duet at the end of his set."
The two of them met in 2001 at the L.A. trade show for NAMM, the International Music Products Association. "I walked into the Taylor guitar booth, and saw Franco play on a small stage there. I was spellbound. There was so much incredible emotion behind his playing, and unbelievable technique. Then and there, I thought it'd be great to get him to Hawaii one day, and after he took my contact info, we connected a year later.
"The great thing about Franco," said Tanenbaum, "is that he's starting to explore ethnic music through fingerstyle guitar -- even Jewish Klezmer music, which usually features clarinet. That's one of his gifts. In fact, one of his CDs had him rearranging and transcribing pure Celtic music originally written for pipes.
"The latest thing he's up to is fusing Celtic with American blues. And not only is he quite the guitarist, but Franco's very funny on stage."
'Extreme Guitar -- Italian Style!'
Featuring Franco Morone and opener Michael Tanenbaum
On stage: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the rRed Elephant, 1144 Bethel St.
Tickets: $20 advance and $22.50 at the door
Call: 550-8457 or online at honoluluboxoffice.com
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The FooMan has been trying to catch up with his work. And this one's long overdue. Foo has been sitt...The FooMan has been trying to catch up with his work. And this one's long overdue. Foo has been sitting at his computer for some time now looking over small edits on the website and trying to make a list of all the housework - And the whole time Foo's been chillin' w/ the Mr. Michael Tanenbaum's Jukebox. And Foo does mean chillin'.
Michael's music is matching my winter chill out day to the max. There's a lot the other Michael in this man's playing and writing - yes, Hedges is very much the flavor here. But, a bit more laid back and mellow. It's no wonder - the Foo thinks he'd be a bit more chill if he lived in Hawaii too!
There are several duets in Tanenbaum's catalog but, no where near his extensive array of solo recordings for the acoustic guitar. In the duet category I had to skip over to his Mspace page for the ambient "Orca" with "Makana". Whatever Makana is playing is deep in the background with lots of reverb - sounds just like a whale.
Visual imagery is self described and Tanenbaum seems bent into the film and video scoring field but, he fits just fine into the acoustic genre - where I'm sure he's got plenty of fans. His music is soulful beautiful and very skillful. Reverb and delays are prevalent over much of his music which adds to the overall ethereal and ambient direction.
Still, Foo finds himself coming back to the same three songs on his player.
"All Thumbs", "Upcountry Boogie" and "Slap Happy and Blue" are filled with great rhythm and forward movement in both the arrangement and the melodies.
The Foo will not even begin to touch the issue of sound and recording with this artist. Although it's mostly one instrument and there's not a lot of mixing - there's not a thing that goes wrong with The Foo's ears when he listens to any of these recordings. So for the first time ever, Foo gives out a 10.
FooStats(out of 10):
Audio Quality: 10
Spicey factor: 6
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Try Wait: ‘Soul Sessions’ partners with The Pulse BY GARY CHUN / email@example.com What...Try Wait: ‘Soul Sessions’ partners with The Pulse
BY GARY CHUN / firstname.lastname@example.org
What to do with an unused production studio?
Jon Brekke posed that question to himself months ago as he looked at the Island Film Group studio in Halawa. Maybe the space could be used for something music-related, given his experience in producing and directing the “Hawaiian Classics” music series for Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s OC16 channel and the “Kokua for Japan” telethon concert held on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in April 2011.
“And then an idea came quickly to me,” he said. “How about giving indie singer-songwriters an opportunity to show what they could do in an intimate setting? I had a feeling that this ‘blank’ studio would be good for sound.”
Brekke’s first test attempt involved Melanie Blades, the girlfriend of fellow filmmaker and friend Andrew Magpoc. She sang an original song of Brekke’s, “Lullaby,” accompanied by acoustic guitarist Michael Tanenbaum and violinist Leslie Kline. The sombre tune has a solid and flattering sound mix, something that can be said for the additional acts that have followed and are part of “Soul Sessions USA.”
Starting this week, video content will be posted every Tuesday on the Honolulu Pulse website and archived on the “Soul Sessions” YouTube channel. The impressive lineup of artists that have so far stopped by the studio include Makana, Sing the Body, the Erika Elona Band, Ginai, Johnny Helm, Siaosi and Christina Gomes.
Now in business partnership with Blades, Brekke said that “in the first three months of the channel’s launch, we landed roughly 10,000 hits with viewership in 90 countries.” The channel’s web reach is expected to expand with Soul Sessions USA’s partnership with The Pulse, the
Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s entertainment website and a two-time finalist in Editor &?Publisher’s international EPPY?Awards contest for best entertainment website.
Originating from Hawaii is not played up in the videos.
“It’s meant to look like it could’ve come from anywhere,” said Brekke. “It’s a multiple camera setup using an intimate microphone system, using boom and wireless.
“This is a better setting to present the music, rather than depending on noisy bar performances. It just shows what a little bit of TLC can do to make the music that much better.”
And Brekke is hoping to spread that tender loving care to the rest of the country — the channel isn’t called “Soul Sessions USA” for nothing.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, Brekke and Blades will launch a Kickstarter online crowdfunding project with a $100,000 goal, hoping to attract the involvement of musicians from 10 U.S. cities and, according to Brekke, “build an independent grassroots movement.
“We hope to raise $10,000 per city, from places like Nashville, Austin, New York, Los Angeles and Portland. Our production crew will go to the cities and work with 10 musicians, each doing 10 tunes, and gathering 100 new songs for the channel. We hope that, within a couple of months of reaching our funding goal, we can start sometime in March.
“We want to see artists glow and come alive under this format,” Brekke said.
As a Featured Performer:
45 min. - 1 hour set depending on the venue. An evening of 2 sets of original instrumental music & several covers with an intermission between sets.
As an Opener or part of a multiple act event: a 20 - 30 minute set is ideal (or longer if time allows)
|Dec 31, 2014 Wednesday||TBA||Check out --->||www.myspace.com/michaeltanenbaum for the most current performance dates, HI, US|
|www.michaeltmusic.com for additional performance dates|