Lagrimas Creates A Jazzy Pairing

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - January 06, 2010
Abe Lagrimas releases his second ukulele album

Props to Abe Lagrimas Jr. on his new album Ukulele Vibes.

Not only is the title a creative play on words - it’s a duo album featuring the ukulele and vibraphone, get it? - but it also makes for an unusual pairing. It’s a very ambitious effort from an artist better known for his skills as a drummer.

“Because I can play both the vibraphone and the ukulele, I thought that would be the pairing,” says Lagrimas. “But primarily being a drummer, it was kind of a challenge for me to do this not having drums on it, and to create a really strong sound and feel without having my signature voice in the music.”

Stripped down and recorded in an intimate setting, Lagrimas provokes a unique musical partnership that explores the inner voices of these fine and sometimes misunderstood instruments.

“I really enjoy the interplay between two instruments,” says Lagrimas, a 2001 Waipahu High School graduate. “Because there are only two instruments, you can really listen in on how each reacts to the other.”

The jazz-inspired album features nine tracks with everything from romantic to intense to playful, such as Baby Drool.

“I write a lot of tunes when I’m on the road because I’m inspired by the different places that I see, and it gives me a lot of time to really just focus on my music,” says the 26-year-old. “The story behind this song is, I was just sitting on the plane waiting for it to take off and I saw this parent who was getting flustered trying to get settled, and the whole time his baby was drooling. It has a playful sound to it, so that’s how the tune came about.”

For this album, Abe enlisted the support of his older brothers Glenn and Eric Lagrimas as co-producers. Oldest brother Eric also is very active in the music industry as drummer for Pimpbot, president of Pass Out Records and instructor for MELE (Music & Entertainment Learning Experience) at Hawaii Community College.

Back to li’l bro, Abe is already in the writing stages of his next album, which he says will be a honeymoon album. Just married this summer to Michelle (from Ewa Beach), Abe and his new bride traveled to Europe for an extensive six-city honeymoon getaway.

“Before we went I bought a notebook of sheet music because I wanted to create an entire album inspired by those different places that we visited,” he says. ” And for that album, I plan to play drums mostly.”

Quinn Kelsey at Hawaii Theatre on Jan. 20

Abe’s trip back for the holidays from his current home in L.A. wouldn’t be complete without some live performances. As a member of the local jazz group Bop Tribal, Abe and the gang will take the stage Saturday at Dragon Upstairs for Jazz & Gourmet Night. Only 50 seats are available for this exclusive fundraising event.

“It’s a fundraiser for Bop Tribal so we can continue doing our music,” says Lagrimas. “There are not a lot of jazz groups in Hawaii. As far as I know there are only two, the other being the Honolulu Jazz Quartet. We want to keep this project going. With the help of the fans, we can make that happen.”

Money raised will be used for Bop Tribal’s new projects, albums and concerts. Tickets cost $40 per person or $70 per couple and include gourmet delights from Valentini Fine Food Services, Licious Dishes, Peace Cafe and Tokkuri Tei. For more information or tickets, visit

Abe also is a teacher at the Hollywood Academy of Music and an active member of JazzPhil USA, a nonprofit organization that perpetuates Filipino artists who are playing jazz.

For more on Lagrimas or his new album, visit ...

Quinn Kelsey returns home Wednesday, Jan. 20 for A Star Recital at the Hawaii Theatre.

Kelsey’s career in opera began as a member of the Hawaii Opera Theatre chorus in 1991. Today he is in the international opera arena and is regarded as a leading artist of his generation.

The University of Hawaii-Manoa alum’s performance celebrates Hawaii Opera Theatre’s 50th anniversary season. He will be accompanied by Tamara Sanikidze on piano.

The formidable baritone’s commanding talent has earned critical acclaim on the most respected stages in the country. He has appeared as a principal artist with HOT, where he was heard as the Mandarin and Ping in Turandot as well as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Marcello in La Boheme.

“We first heard Quinn on our stage when he had just completed his degree at the University of Manoa,” says Hawaii Theatre president Sarah Richards. “We are delighted that this talented, rising star will once again grace our hall.”

General admission is $25; preferred seating is $50; and a VIP package is available for $75. For tickets visit,


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