Eclectic blues legend Taj Mahal revisits the Hawaiian sounds he first explored in the late 1980s on his next album, "Hanapepe Dream." The set will be released June 10 on Mahal's own Kan-Du Records via
Eclectic blues legend Taj Mahal revisits the Hawaiian sounds he first explored in the late 1980s on his next album, "Hanapepe Dream." The set will be released June 10 on Mahal's own Kan-Du Records via a new deal with Tone-Cool Records.
"Hanapepe Dream" is the artist's second album recorded with the Hula Blues, Mahal's all acoustic string band. The set blends Hawaiian rhythms with Mahal's signature blues style on such classics as Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and Mississippi John Hurt's "My Creole Belle," as well as Harold Logan and Lloyd Price's "Stagger Lee," which has appeared on several of the artist's albums. The U.S. release will be an enhanced CD with live video footage of Mahal and the band performing "The Calypsonians" and "The New Hula Blues."
The New York-born Mahal immersed himself in Hawaiian music after moving to the state in 1981. His first set to reflect the influence was 1987's "Taj" (Grammavision). He has explored various styles over the years, returning to the Hawaiian element with 1998's "Sacred Island," his first album with the Hula Blues. That set debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart.
"My perspective is cultural and world-based. It's always been a global perspective," Mahal said in a statement. "I think that the way music is played [in America], it's terribly narrowcast. I relate to these various traditions that I feel are connected through family, extended family, and influenced by influence."
Later this year Mahal will be seen in Martin Scorsese's "From Mali to Mississippi," the first film in the Scorsese-produced PBS series "The Blues." Along with Mahal, also performing in the film will be Ali Farka Toure, Salif Keita, and Othar Turner. As previously reported, Mahal's "She Caught the Katy (And Left Me a Mule To Ride)" appears on the Columbia/Legacy two-disc anthology "The Story of the Blues," which will serve as a prelude to the PBS series.
Mahal is currently on tour in Europe with his trio, and will perform tomorrow (April 26) in Bergen, Norway. A three-week U.S. tour with the Hula Blues will kick off June 20 in Chicago.
Here are Mahal's upcoming tour dates with his trio:
April 26: Bergen, Norway (Festival)
April 30: Oslo, Norway (Det Apne Teater)
May 1: Odense, Denmark (Rytmeposten)
May 2: Ospel, Holland (Moulin Blues Festival)
May 3: Groningen, Holland (Oosterport)
May 6: Bremen, Germany (Schlachthof)
May 7: Hannover, Germany (Pavillon)
May 8: Hamburg (Fabrik)
May 9: Bonn, Germany (Harmonie)
May 10: Ingolstadt, Germany (Jugendzentrum)
May 12: Frankfurt (Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm)
May 13: Lorsch, Germany (Rex Theater)
May 14: Einbeck, Germany (Esel)
May 18-19: Annapolis, Md. (Ram's Head)
May 20-25: New York (Blue Note)
July 15: Raleigh, N.C. (North Carolina Museum of Art)
July 16: Charlotte, N.C. (Neighborhood Theater)
July 17: Charleston, S.C. (Charleston Music Hall)
July 18: Charleston, W.Va. (Clay Center for the Arts)
July 19: Grenada, Miss. (Hobstock Festival/Hobgood Farms)
Aug. 1: Goshen, Conn. (Litchfield Jazz Festival)
Aug. 9: Edmonton (Edmonton Folk Festival)
Sept. 27: San Francisco (San Francisco Blues Festival)
Here are Mahal's dates with the Hula Band:
June 20: Chicago (House of Blues)
June 21: South Bend, Ind. (R. Fischgrund Center for Performing Arts)
June 22: Apple Valley, Minn. (Music in the Zoo)
June 25: Denver (Denver Botanic Gardens)
June 27: San Francisco (Fillmore)
June 28: Laytonville, Calif. (Black Oak Ranch)
June 29: Avila Beach, Calif. (Avila Beach Resort)
June 30: San Diego (Humphrey's)
July 3: Portland, Ore. (Tom McCall Waterfront Park)
July 4: Bend, Ore. (Lee Schwab Amphitheater)
July 5: Jacksonville, Ore. (Britt Festival Fairgrounds)
July 6: Seattle (Woodland Park Zoo)
July 10: Salt Lake City (Red Butte Garden)
July 11: Big Sky, Mon. (Meadow Village Pavilion)
July 12: Ritzville, Wash. (Ritzville Blues Festival)