The Lettermen, Eric Lee And More

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - March 30, 2011
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The Lettermen

More than 10 years since its last concert in Hawaii, legendary trio The Lettermen is back performing Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Blaisdell.

“Ever since the early 1960s The Lettermen have been performing in Hawaii,” says original member Tony Butala. “We are all very excited to be returning to Hawaii because it has been so long since we last performed in paradise.”

Also making up the current Lettermen roster are Donovan Tea and Mark Preston. The trio’s newest album New Directions, released in 2010, has garnered three Grammy nominations.

The Lettermen will perform hits from that album as well as decades of music that earned the trio regular TV appearances on American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Red Skelton Show and The Hollywood Palace.

“We will be singing our first several hits from the early 1960s, like The Way You Look Tonight, When I Fall In Love, Smile, Come Back Silly Girl,” says Butala. “Some of our hits from the middle to late 1960s and early 1970s like Traces/Memories, Put Your Head On My Shoulder, Hurt So Bad, Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You medley, and, of course, some of our many big hits in the Philippines like The Wonder Of You and Morning Girl, as well as our Tagalog favorites like Dahil Sa Iyo, Hindi Kita Malimot and many, many more. Because of all of the songs we have to sing, the show will be a long but very enjoyable show.”


One hundred percent of the proceeds from The Lettermen’s On This Rock We Will Build A Church Benefit Concert - presented by Edward A. Alquero, M.D. INC, Maria and Renato Etrada Foundation, Ace Medical and Case Management Professionals - will go to the Carmelite Nuns of the Holy Trinity, and to the construction of a new monastery and chapel in the Philippines. Proceeds also will fund other orphanages and apostolate missions.

Eric Lee

Tickets cost $35, $65 and $100 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com. For more information, visit thelettermen.com ...

Kamehameha Schools and UH Manoa graduate Eric Lee has come a long way since winning the Ka Himeni Ana competition in 1993. Shortly after his win he recorded his first published Hawaiian composition Na Nalu Ha’i O Ma’ili on the album The Kanile’a Collection. In 1998, Lee and Brian Mersberg formed Na Kama, and over the next 10 years released four albums: Ke Ala Hou, Come and See ... Hawai’i and Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning albums Kamakolu and E Ola Ke Ali’i: The Na Kama Christmas Collection - Volume 1.

Lee was also a member of The Ka’ala Boys, releasing three studio CDs, a Christmas single and a greatest hits album.

In 2007, Lee released his first solo single, Camp Le’ahi, a song he composed for the summer program he worked at as music teacher. And in 2009, he celebrated the release of his debut full-length solo album Crossroads.

Just last month, Lee released another solo single Hallelujah/Thunder Road - Hallelujah in response to requests from fans who heard him perform the song in his shows. The classic song, composed by Leonard Cohen, features Lee on lead vocals and acoustic guitar and Peter Milo on background vocals. Thunder Road, which was composed by Lee, is an up-tempo rock instrumental with a country feel.

“I dedicate this album to the fans,” says Lee, “as a thank you for coming to my performances and supporting me.”

In response to the tsunami crisis in Japan, Lee will donate funds from his Hallelujah/Thunder Road CD sales to the Japan disaster relief efforts.

“I wanted to take this CD a step further and use it as a way to give back to Japan because I have built a great relationship with them for many years, since 1994,” he adds.

“The people in Japan have always been so nice to me, and I’ve had wonderful experiences there. I want to show my aloha back to them.”

Nicky B. Le Grand

Lee is currently completing a rock collaboration with fellow artist Peter Milo, and will begin recording his sophomore solo full-length release this summer.

“I’ve already been writing material for my next album, so things are moving forward,” says Lee. “I think everything is falling into place ...

Also making a name for Hawaii and herself is Oahu-grown Nicky B. Le Grand.

The 25-year-old go-getter, who sings and plays the guitar, also runs her successful graphic and Web design studio (designsbybo.com).

And she also recently became the creative director and editor-in-chief for Runway Magazine Inc. based in Los Angeles.

Born in Hawaii as Bo Nicole Capener, she grew up in Hawaii Kai, and at 16 graduated from Kaiser High School. Eager to get out into the “real world,” she moved to San Francisco to attend art school.

“Basically I wanted to just get on with my life, and so after two years I also left art school early to start my graphic and Web design business,” she adds.

“But throughout I was always doing music. And later I had met my ex-husband (OK 2 Cross) and we did music together and recorded.”


With a motto to live hard, play hard and rock hard, Le Grand is now working with Nikko Smith to create her rock EP that’s scheduled to release April 15.

“A lot of the songs I write tend to be written in minor keys and are kind of melancholy because I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs and a really hard divorce,” says Le Grand. “And even in high school I was kind of a troubled kid, so a lot of what comes out of me tends to be the darker stuff.

“So my songs basically document my experiences.”

But before the album drops, Le Grand is headed to Hawaii to film her music video this Friday (First Friday) in Chinatown.

To get the details on how to be a part of the video shoot or for a preview of Le Grand’s songs, check out nickyblegrand.com.

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