Charmaine Clamor celebrating Filipino-American history with Big Island show




Tribune-Herald staff writer

Charmaine Clamor calls her music “jazzipino” — a melding of jazz, pop, soul and kundiman, which are Filipino love songs.

Two years ago at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the Philippine-born, Los Angeles-based singer was rewarded with a standing ovation. She’ll be back Saturday night at the Honokaa People’s Theater, the third show in a four-island tour. Showtime is at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.

“I had a great time when we were in Hilo the last time we were there, two years ago,” Clamor told the Tribune-Herald last week. “We’ll play some of the music from last time, but we’ll play some new music, as well. It’s October. It’s Filipino-American History Month, so this whole thing is part of our celebration of Hawaii’s part of Filipino-American history. Hawaii is a paradise to us and I’m just excited to experience that.”

Clamor — her name rhymes with “amour” — has recorded four U.S. albums and is in pre-production on a fifth, she said, with recording to start next month.

“We’re trying to do a theme about healing, because at this moment in my life, that’s what I would like my music to do,” Clamor said. “There will be at least one or two original tunes. It won’t be just a jazz album, per se, but there will be some jazz elements to it. There will be some songs that I’ll be doing here in Hawaii, like Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. We have our own version of that, and John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.”

She’ll also likely perform tried-and-true favorites, such as “My Funny Valentine” — on which she’s changed the lyrics to “My Funny Brown Pinay” — plus Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Something Good” and her version of U2’s “With or Without You.”

Clamor’s band will include her Oahu-born music director, Abe Lagrimas Jr., on drums; Dominic Thiroux on bass; David Starck on piano; Jr. Volcano Choy on trumpet; Paul Lindberg on sax; and Slyde Hyde on trombone.

Choy, Lindberg and Hyde are all Big Island musicians, and Clamor said she’s “excited to be reunited with those cats again.” About Hyde, who was part of the famed group of session musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew,” Clamor said; “He is legendary, especially here in Los Angeles.”

When Clamor came to the Big Island two years ago, she was accompanied by teen jazz piano prodigy Kyle Matsuda, then a Hawaii Preparatory Academy senior, now a sophomore at Harvard. She wouldn’t disclose her pianist for the Hawaii tour, saying she was keeping it a surprise. Investigation revealed the mystery man as Starck, a Paris-born musician who’s spent a considerable amount of time in Manila and is Clamor’s first-call pianist for international performances. His résumé includes gigs with Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, David Sancious and Lew Soloff.

Since her last show here, Clamor’s travels have taken her to South Africa and Finland. At the latter stop, her band dined on reindeer, while Clamor is a pescatarian, meaning fish is the only animal protein she consumes. She’s looking forward to Hawaii, where “the pineapples and bananas are to die for.”

“We’re gonna island hop every day for four days straight,” she said. “We’ll wrap up the tour in Kauai and we’ll spend a day there before we go back to Los Angeles. I’d like to see the sunset and I’d love to go to the beach, because Hawaii is one of those rare places where you can actually touch the water and not freeze to death. I’d love to hang out and enjoy the fruit and the seafood, and maybe a little light hiking.”


Tickets are general admission, $30 adult and $25 senior or student in advance, with all tickets $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Taro Patch in Honokaa, online at or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838 3006.

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