Andrew on ʻUkulele: Next Generation Carries on Molina Music Tradition

September 25, 2015, 7:38 AM HST · Updated September 25, 7:37 AM
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Andrew Molina. Photo courtesy: Jay Molina.

Andrew Molina. Photo courtesy: Jay Molina.

By Cy Yoshizu

Special to Maui Now

After picking up the ʻukulele at the age of 13, Andrew Molina never imagined that someday he would actually be performing on tour.

Molina was surrounded by music from a very early age, coming from a musical family that goes back four generations. His great grandma played the flamenco guitar; however, it was his grandpa and his brothers’ band that made the Molina name famous on the island. The nine Molina brothers formed a jazz band, with Molina’s grandpa, Henry Molina, playing the saxophone.

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Molina’s father, Jay Molina is also no stranger to the music scene. Jay Molina was the bassist of the band, Music Magic, which was popular in the late 70s and 80s. He is also a member of the band, Asian Blend.

“I remember my dad practicing his bass around the house,” he recalled. “However, it wasn’t until my seventh grade year, when my cousin brought his ʻukulele over and taught me the song “Tropical Hawaiian Days” by the Kaʻau Crater Boys. After that I couldn’t put it down,” said Andrew.

Photo courtesy: Jay Molina.

Photo courtesy: Jay Molina.

After six months of playing, Andrew heard songs from the renowned ʻukulele artist, Jake Shimabukuro.

“I want to play like that,” he remembers telling himself. “Many days and hours went by, and I saw myself picking up on the material Jake played. I just wanted to get better and better and soon realized I had the potential,” said Andrew.

Molina was eventually able to meet and become friends with Shimabukuro. He even got the opportunity to play with Shimabukuro in 2008 at an event held at Baldwin High School. It was at this moment that Molina began dreaming of touring.

Andrew Molina tour flyer. Image courtesy: Jay Molina.

Andrew Molina tour flyer. Image courtesy: Jay Molina.

“Finally after all these years I can make that dream a reality,” he said. “I can’t even explain how excited I am. The days have been going by so slow because of the anticipation.”

Molina is scheduled to perform at 10 different gigs within three states. He started his tour in San Diego, California on Sept. 24, and will slowly make his way up to Tacoma, Washington.  The tour wraps up with a private event on Oct. 17 in Great Falls, Montana.

During the tour, Andrew will perform hit songs from his 2014 Nā Hōkū Hanohano nominated album “The Beginning,” such as “E Hoʻi Ke Aloha” and “Feels Like Yesterday.” He will also perform his popular YouTube covers of the Guns N’ Roses classic, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.”

Molina will be accompanied by his father, who will join him on guitar.

“I look forward to entertaining people, making friends, and seeing new sights,” said Andrew.

More information on Molina’s upcoming performances can be found on his website.

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