Hello Kavita is a great band, and not just because leader Corey Teruya is Asian American

Prediction: Denver band Hello Kavita is bound for national glory.

Should musicians be praised and have the spotlight shined on them simply because they’re Asian American? Of course not. But if some of us AAPI bloggers didn’t pay attention to the Asian American artists out there, they may go quietly under the radar and not get any attention at all. Not that we make such a difference — success in the music biz is such a random, arbitrary brass ring no matter what you are or who you are.

That’s the conversation I found myself having with Joe Nguyen of asiaXpress.com, the Pho King of the World, Ultimate Expert on all Asian American performers criss-crossing the country, and the ones who hail right here from Colorado, the other night during the Release Party for Hello Kavita‘s very excellent “To a Loved One” CD at the Hi-Dive, a popular local music club.

Actually, this conversation took place before Hello Kavita hit the stage, during the opening act, Houses, which had a keyboard player that we figured for a Hapa, either Japanese or Korean mixed race. The fact that we focused on the guy because of his ethnicity even though he wasn’t the main player in Houses got me thinking that it’s silly to write about Asian American performers just because they’re Asian American.

And yet, that’s the reason I made my way late on a Saturday night to see Hello Kavita. After a long career as a music critic, I’m not big on going out to clubs to see bands anymore, but this one is special. Joe had been raving about them for a couple of years, and he has good taste. The band’s led by Corey Teruya, who’s Japanese American born in Hawai’i and raised in Boulder. The music’s credited to the entire band, but I’m guessing he’s the creative spark that runs the engine under the musical chassis.

It’s still so rare to find a rock band fronted by an Asian American — with the exception of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who paved that road from the Denver area 20 years ago — that I wanted to make my way out to catch their live show. Continue reading

And now, for music that’s something completely different

… Well, maybe not completely different, but music that you most likely haven’t heard.

It’s been a long time since pop music has been a unifying force for an entire generation (or two, or three). Now there are too many genres, too many listeners with too many tastes, too many subcultures, too many niches (it’s like the Web, no?).

For myself, I listen to a wide variety of stuff but not nearly as much new music, either pop or alternative, or hip-hop or whatever, than I used to when I was a rockcrit. I do my share of iTunes downloads, and back in the halcyon early Napster days, I did my share of file-sharing (or stealing, I know, I know). Most of the music I seek out these days, however, is music within proscribed genres like jazz, world music, blues, “Americana,” singer-songwriters or — gulp — crass baby-boomer oldies. I seek out very few new bands unless someone recommends an act to me.

I manage to keep somewhat current by listening to some music that’s offered online for free (and copyright free). Here are three sources downloadable via RSS feeds. Continue reading