Hawaiian reggae band The Green will be performing Saturday during the Kauai Summer Jam at the Vidinha Stadium soccer field alongside singers Kimie and Camile Velasco. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Kauai Interscholastic Federation sports programs.
“The cause is the highlight of the show. I think and you usually don’t have outside people trying to fundraise for the schools, usually it’s on the kids,” said JP Kennedy, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for The Green. “Rumi (Masumura) had this vision of doing this show and it’s happening, and we are very excited. Hopefully, the word spreads about the cause because that’s the main thing. It’s going to be a great night of music, and just a fun-filled day of music and good vibes.”
The Green formed on Oahu in 2009 and is made up of Kennedy, Zion Thompson, Caleb Keolanui, Brad Watanabe, Jordan Espinoza and Ikaika Antone. Their self-titled debut album, released in 2010, was awarded iTunes Best Reggae Album of the Year.
Although formed on Oahu, Kennedy said all of the members have connections to Kauai in the form of family or close friends.
“We all love playing there,” Kennedy said. “Kauai definitely has its own vibe. Kauai people are special, for sure. They have something different in the water out there.”
The Green is currently preparing for the release of its latest album, “Hawaii ’13,” which will hit store shelves on Aug. 20.
“We are very excited. We recorded it in January, three weeks at Hurley Studios in California,” Kennedy said. “It’s the first time we ever worked with a producer Danny Kalb. He just helped the album come alive.”
Both The Green’s debut album and its sophomore album, “Ways & Means” were recorded in the band’s bedroom studio. With the addition of Kalb, who has worked with artists such as Jack Johnson, Beck and Ben Harper, Kennedy said he was able to take their sound to the next level.
“This guy pretty much saw what we wanted and put it through in these cleaner ways,” Kennedy said. “We are stoked about it. It is the best we have ever heard our music.”
The recording process for this album was something foreign to The Green, as it only had three weeks of studio time scheduled, something that seemed daunting at the time.
“We were kind of worried because we were going to go for three weeks, and we have to make sure we have the album done. It sounded kind of nuts,” Kennedy said.
The Green went on to make adjustments in how the band worked, but also knew what direction it wanted the album to go in, which helped the process.
“We really had to fine-tune the scheduling and make sure we were on schedule each day. Just looking at the scheduling, that’s not really the way you want to work in the studio, being pressured to finish, finish, finish,” Kennedy said. “But this was kind of cool because we knew the songs we wanted to do, and we had some idea of the direction of each one, so we were able to just work. It flowed real nicely and having Danny there really helped us to move to the next thing and if it wasn’t working we would come back to it. A lot of great (s—) came from those sessions.”
The album opens with a Hawaiian chant, which Kennedy said is an important part of both past and present Hawaiian culture. He went on to say that the “He Mele No Kuu Hawaii,” the chant featured in the album, is a way to prepare for something important.
The album charts a journey through Hawaiian life and music in 2013 according to a release. It reflects on The Green’s musical upbringing just as much as the band’s vision for the future of Hawaii and its musical output.
“We will be playing a few songs off the new album,” Kennedy said. “We will definitely be playing two of them, ‘Take Me On’ and ‘Something About It’. We may even have some CDs with us out there, so hopefully we can drop some early issues to some fans.”
In addition to playing Kauai Summer Jam, The Green is planning a nationwide tour for later this year to promote its new album.
Also performing with The Green is Kimie, another Hawaiian singer/songwriter, and Camile Velasco, a Maui native who made a name for herself on season three of “American Idol.”
Both artists have a relationship with The Green, which was another reason for the band to come to Kauai.
“We are all about trying to do quality things,” Kennedy said. “It’s cool. We get a good show out of it. We have a new album — we can tell people about. It’s a great cause for the kids, our friends are on the bill. It’s just a good thing.”
Kauai Summer Jam tickets are available for $25 in advance of the event and can be found at TheGreen808.com, Pono Market in Kapaa, Deja Vu at Kukui Grove Center, Sueoka Store in Koloa and Da Booze Shop in Waimea. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on Saturday for $35. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. and the event will feature food, drinks and a keiki fun area. It is also a drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free event.