Ginai
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Ginai

Wahiawā, Hawaii, United States | SELF

Wahiawā, Hawaii, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter

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Sep
20
Ginai @ The Dragon Upstairs

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Local songstress Ginai and band Hot Club of Hulaville are making a splash on a national level as their album Django Would Go! has risen to No. 1 on the Roots Music Report for jazz albums. Formed in 2007, Hot Club of Hulaville has been received extraordinarily well, and Ginai has dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort to making the band, image and music authentic, holding true to its hot club, gypsy virtuoso, Django Reinhart jazz style.

“I co-produced the record with the band, I wrote a couple of the original songs, I definitely helped spearhead the recording process, adding effects where needed,” says Ginai, who appeared on the cover of MidWeek in 2006. “That doesn’t discount the amazing graphic art efforts of Sonny Silva. We were able to put together the most innovative beauty packaging the island has ever seen. The whole country is abuzz over the presentation. “

Ginai also recognizes that a unique aspect of Hot Club of Hulaville is the incorporation of herself as a vocalist, which is rare for this type of band. “Adding a vocalist to an instrumentalist vibe opens up your audience exponentially,” she adds.


As someone who once concentrated the majority of her vocal stylings on jazz and R&B, Ginai now embraces and has expanded the scope of her vocals. “In regard to the artful performances, I am using a part of my voice that I have never used before,” says Ginai, who garners a lot of her inspiration from the “Black Venus” of entertainment, Josephine Baker. “I am doing a more classical style and it’s endearing fans quite a bit, actually.”

Since Ginai was a child she has been entranced by the spell that music has over her. “I absolutely love music. It just zings the strings of my heart,” she adds.


And now Ginai’s career is broadening even more as she has started her journey as a playwright, creating the Django Would Go! gypsy operetta that goes hand-in-hand with the band’s musical endeavors. The Django Would Go! music festival also will be held this October on Maui. - Midweek Magazine


Local songstress Ginai and band Hot Club of Hulaville are making a splash on a national level as their album Django Would Go! has risen to No. 1 on the Roots Music Report for jazz albums. Formed in 2007, Hot Club of Hulaville has been received extraordinarily well, and Ginai has dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort to making the band, image and music authentic, holding true to its hot club, gypsy virtuoso, Django Reinhart jazz style.

“I co-produced the record with the band, I wrote a couple of the original songs, I definitely helped spearhead the recording process, adding effects where needed,” says Ginai, who appeared on the cover of MidWeek in 2006. “That doesn’t discount the amazing graphic art efforts of Sonny Silva. We were able to put together the most innovative beauty packaging the island has ever seen. The whole country is abuzz over the presentation. “

Ginai also recognizes that a unique aspect of Hot Club of Hulaville is the incorporation of herself as a vocalist, which is rare for this type of band. “Adding a vocalist to an instrumentalist vibe opens up your audience exponentially,” she adds.


As someone who once concentrated the majority of her vocal stylings on jazz and R&B, Ginai now embraces and has expanded the scope of her vocals. “In regard to the artful performances, I am using a part of my voice that I have never used before,” says Ginai, who garners a lot of her inspiration from the “Black Venus” of entertainment, Josephine Baker. “I am doing a more classical style and it’s endearing fans quite a bit, actually.”

Since Ginai was a child she has been entranced by the spell that music has over her. “I absolutely love music. It just zings the strings of my heart,” she adds.


And now Ginai’s career is broadening even more as she has started her journey as a playwright, creating the Django Would Go! gypsy operetta that goes hand-in-hand with the band’s musical endeavors. The Django Would Go! music festival also will be held this October on Maui. - Midweek Magazine


In her more than 30 years of professional singing, Ginai has performed with a funk band called Mo Dog, sung jazz with Bruce Hamada and Jim Howard at Lewers Lounge, worked revue shows as a Whitney Houston impersonator and swung with Hula Joe and the Hutjumpers.

And after all that, she’s finally ready for her debut. Ginai’s first solo album, Jazz Island, came out in March—a solid roundup of jazz standards she recorded with the help of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet. “I’ve always managed to reinvent myself,” she says. “This is my third time on the upswing.” Reinvention or no—her jazz singing is far from green. She can improvise, interpret and scat with the best, and even throw some Hawaiian into the mix, as on her medley of Irmgard Aluli’s and Charles Kekua Farden’s “Puamana” and Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” Catch her at Jazz Minds Arts and Café every Wednesday. www.ginai.com - Honolulu Magazine


In her more than 30 years of professional singing, Ginai has performed with a funk band called Mo Dog, sung jazz with Bruce Hamada and Jim Howard at Lewers Lounge, worked revue shows as a Whitney Houston impersonator and swung with Hula Joe and the Hutjumpers.

And after all that, she’s finally ready for her debut. Ginai’s first solo album, Jazz Island, came out in March—a solid roundup of jazz standards she recorded with the help of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet. “I’ve always managed to reinvent myself,” she says. “This is my third time on the upswing.” Reinvention or no—her jazz singing is far from green. She can improvise, interpret and scat with the best, and even throw some Hawaiian into the mix, as on her medley of Irmgard Aluli’s and Charles Kekua Farden’s “Puamana” and Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” Catch her at Jazz Minds Arts and Café every Wednesday. www.ginai.com - Honolulu Magazine


Maybe divas are not what MTV shows us. Maybe pampered 18-year-olds singing about the loves they are yet to know don’t strike a chord of truth within us. Perhaps they should taste the bitterness of life first before we trust their opinion on things.

If that is the case, then Hawaii should be proud at the final unveiling of our own local jazz diva, Ginai. On Friday, March 10, jazz aficionados islandwide will finally get a chance to see what they knew all along: Ginai was meant to be one of the preeminent jazz solo artists in Hawaii.

The CD release party will be held in the Hanohano Room at the Sheraton Waikiki with the Honolulu Jazz Quartet accompanying her - as they do on her debut album Jazz Island.


The release of this album represents not just a new spin on some jazz classics, but a new lease on life for a woman who has had to battle for it her whole life.

“This CD is moving on in a magical way for me,” says Ginai, who, though this is her first solo album, has been working as a professional singer for 30 years - and previously appeared on MidWeek‘s cover as a member of Hula Joe and the Hut Jumpers.

“I’ve just felt so proud of myself, so enlightened, so vindicated. It’s like, whew, I really am a solo artist; I really am good.”

Before you judge the gushing over her album, you first must know the road that has taken her to this point, for her journey makes this victory for her worthy of a little bragging.

Her parents met on Oahu, her mother Hawaiian/Scottish/Irish, her father African American/Cherokee Indian/French. He was in the military, she was in love and he whisked her away to Chicago.


They had a daughter, Ginai, named after the Ingrid Bergman character in the 1958 film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. They were happy, but the times were not. Race wars were tearing the country apart, and Ginai’s mom’s fair skin led her in-laws to view her as white trash.

To protect her young daughter from the racism of the time, she moved her back home to Maile Point. But she raised Ginai to be different. Even living in Waianae, she would smack her if she spoke pidgin. She dressed her well and taught her a love of jazz at a young age.

This caused Ginai to stand out, causing occasional racial epithets to be thrown

Page 1 of 2 pages for this story 1 2 >

her way. They knew her father was black, even if they had never seen him, and kids can be cruel.

Despite this, Ginai still views the West side as home.

“Whenever I can see those gorilla heads on the side of the mountain, I know I am home,” she says, referring to the rock outcroppings on Maile Point.

The seeds of music her mother planted came to fruition at an early age. In seventh grade she won a talent contest with her version of Roberta Flack’s First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. At 16, she joined the professional world in a group named Nostalgia that toured the military bases doing covers from the ‘50s.

By age 18 she was ready for the big time, moving to the Bay Area and helping form a nine-piece funk band named Mo Dog. They opened for Huey Lewis and the News, hired a manager and were set to blow up. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Rock ‘n’Roll Hall of Fame - the band fell apart. Members got married, got “real jobs” and moved past their childhood dreams.

But not Ginai.

She traveled the Mainland, from the lights of Vegas to the isolation of Montana, making a living singing covers and making the music she loved. But it all got too lonely in the wide expanse of America, so she returned home in 1981 to make her mark here in the Islands.

Once home, she found lots of work entertaining tourists in revue shows like Aloha Las Vegas, and working conventions, still never giving up the dream of making music for herself.


She found a niche as a Whitney Houston impersonator, with the strength of voice to match the pop star and the good looks to host the shows. So she spent a decade imitating what she so longed to become. But rather than have it turn her bitter, she saw herself as the lucky one.

“You can take Whitney Houston’s career and make it go away, as far as I’m concerned,” says Ginai. “Because I think my career has been much more to talk about. I actually got to make a living in Hawaii as a singer, while functioning as a mother and a wife. I actually have a life. I surf, I live in paradise. Houston ain’t got nothing on me.”

As you can see, music hasn’t been her only focus. She has three kids, Nichele (21), Joli (14) and young Aidan (2), from three different marriages, finally finding the right one, she says, in big-wave surfer Ted Curti four years ago.

While love has been rough at times, the jilting she received from producer Oliver Wendell was the one that almost crushed her.

Wendell came to her to produce an album for the Japanese market, he altered the spelling of her name to Genai and promised to make her a big success on the other side of the pond.

So she gave him her money, her tru - Midweek Magazine


Maybe divas are not what MTV shows us. Maybe pampered 18-year-olds singing about the loves they are yet to know don’t strike a chord of truth within us. Perhaps they should taste the bitterness of life first before we trust their opinion on things.

If that is the case, then Hawaii should be proud at the final unveiling of our own local jazz diva, Ginai. On Friday, March 10, jazz aficionados islandwide will finally get a chance to see what they knew all along: Ginai was meant to be one of the preeminent jazz solo artists in Hawaii.

The CD release party will be held in the Hanohano Room at the Sheraton Waikiki with the Honolulu Jazz Quartet accompanying her - as they do on her debut album Jazz Island.


The release of this album represents not just a new spin on some jazz classics, but a new lease on life for a woman who has had to battle for it her whole life.

“This CD is moving on in a magical way for me,” says Ginai, who, though this is her first solo album, has been working as a professional singer for 30 years - and previously appeared on MidWeek‘s cover as a member of Hula Joe and the Hut Jumpers.

“I’ve just felt so proud of myself, so enlightened, so vindicated. It’s like, whew, I really am a solo artist; I really am good.”

Before you judge the gushing over her album, you first must know the road that has taken her to this point, for her journey makes this victory for her worthy of a little bragging.

Her parents met on Oahu, her mother Hawaiian/Scottish/Irish, her father African American/Cherokee Indian/French. He was in the military, she was in love and he whisked her away to Chicago.


They had a daughter, Ginai, named after the Ingrid Bergman character in the 1958 film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. They were happy, but the times were not. Race wars were tearing the country apart, and Ginai’s mom’s fair skin led her in-laws to view her as white trash.

To protect her young daughter from the racism of the time, she moved her back home to Maile Point. But she raised Ginai to be different. Even living in Waianae, she would smack her if she spoke pidgin. She dressed her well and taught her a love of jazz at a young age.

This caused Ginai to stand out, causing occasional racial epithets to be thrown

Page 1 of 2 pages for this story 1 2 >

her way. They knew her father was black, even if they had never seen him, and kids can be cruel.

Despite this, Ginai still views the West side as home.

“Whenever I can see those gorilla heads on the side of the mountain, I know I am home,” she says, referring to the rock outcroppings on Maile Point.

The seeds of music her mother planted came to fruition at an early age. In seventh grade she won a talent contest with her version of Roberta Flack’s First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. At 16, she joined the professional world in a group named Nostalgia that toured the military bases doing covers from the ‘50s.

By age 18 she was ready for the big time, moving to the Bay Area and helping form a nine-piece funk band named Mo Dog. They opened for Huey Lewis and the News, hired a manager and were set to blow up. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Rock ‘n’Roll Hall of Fame - the band fell apart. Members got married, got “real jobs” and moved past their childhood dreams.

But not Ginai.

She traveled the Mainland, from the lights of Vegas to the isolation of Montana, making a living singing covers and making the music she loved. But it all got too lonely in the wide expanse of America, so she returned home in 1981 to make her mark here in the Islands.

Once home, she found lots of work entertaining tourists in revue shows like Aloha Las Vegas, and working conventions, still never giving up the dream of making music for herself.


She found a niche as a Whitney Houston impersonator, with the strength of voice to match the pop star and the good looks to host the shows. So she spent a decade imitating what she so longed to become. But rather than have it turn her bitter, she saw herself as the lucky one.

“You can take Whitney Houston’s career and make it go away, as far as I’m concerned,” says Ginai. “Because I think my career has been much more to talk about. I actually got to make a living in Hawaii as a singer, while functioning as a mother and a wife. I actually have a life. I surf, I live in paradise. Houston ain’t got nothing on me.”

As you can see, music hasn’t been her only focus. She has three kids, Nichele (21), Joli (14) and young Aidan (2), from three different marriages, finally finding the right one, she says, in big-wave surfer Ted Curti four years ago.

While love has been rough at times, the jilting she received from producer Oliver Wendell was the one that almost crushed her.

Wendell came to her to produce an album for the Japanese market, he altered the spelling of her name to Genai and promised to make her a big success on the other side of the pond.

So she gave him her money, her tru - Midweek Magazine


Discography

Compact Discs

"Heaven On Earth", Genai, Video Arts Music 1996
"Hula Joe & The Hutjumpers", Black & Tan Records, 1999
"Best of Best: Selected by Kanazawa Toshik" Genai, 2005
“Jazz Island”, Ginai, Black Hawaiian Music, 2006
“Come Together”, Ginai with Pierre Grill, RVR Records, 2010
“Django Would Go”, Hot Club of Hulaville, Hulaville Records, 2010

song: "Pocket Full of Paradise", Na Leo, 2002
song: "Sugar Can Shack", Na Leo, 2003

Photos

Bio

Ginai is a phenomenal singer / songwriter that has worked many years to become one of Hawaii’s most accomplished entertainers! She is stunningly beautiful and enticingly self-confident when performing any genre, but her love is Jazz and R&B.

Ginai is a master of scat. Her phrasing is phenomenal, given that she grew up emulating the great ones, Ella and Carmen. Her own songwriting reflects a diversity unseen in the Islands. Her latest is in Gypsy Jazz, romantic and wistful. She can swing better than most, and croon with the pros. But her songwriting is adventurous and fun! Her R&B chops invoke thoughts of Teena Marie and Chaka Khan. Her sultry jazz vocals incite dreams of Morgana King and Nancy Wilson. Her diversity is masterful and smooth. None can claim to be "The Black Pearl of the Pacific" but Ginai.

ginai has 8 CD releases in Japan in her name (spelled Genai), three Hawaiian Music Awards, one Na Hoku Hanohano award, and is still a hot commodity on the local circuit. Whether it is as the opening act for Diana Krall, Kenny G, Bruce Hornsby, Ray Charles, or Lou Rawls, she is hot and always will be! Dance to her music? No problem! Ask anywhere in town...(Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Waikiki Sheraton. She is the best. Find out from the American Heart Association, Children’s Miracle Network, or The American Lung Association and they'll tell you she is a crowd pleaser! Local media has loved her plenty! Midweek Magazine (4 times!)...Honolulu Magazine...Star Advertiser...Her accomplishments have earned her the title..."The Black Pearl of the Pacific"!

Ginai has added producer and play-write to her list of milestones, with Hawaii’s newest sensation, Hot Club of Hulaville. Their Doris Duke Theater performance ended in a standing ovation on August 22, 2010! No one can dispute the value of Ginai, "The Black Pearl of the Pacific"