Since 2013, Soundshop has transformed the museum’s Doris Duke Theatre into a classroom/jam space, where middle and high school kids write and perform their own songs, guided by a roster of local musicians who have had songs on the radio, gone on tours and won Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
Five Soundshop teaching artists stand onstage with a quiver of instruments, including a turntable. “My name is Rukka the Magnificent,” says one grabbing the mic, “and I’m from Nanakuli.” The students start buzzing-especially the ones also from the Leeward Oahu town. A beat drops and Rukka kicks some rhymes before passing the mic to Nick Kurosawa, who plays a bluesy guitar number. Then singer/songwriter Maryanne Ito tells the crowd she has kids their age before cementing herself as the coolest mom they’ve met with a velvety R&B groove. She hands the mic to New York native DJ Leanski, who scratches up beats on the turntable. By the time jazz singer Kelsea Armstrong is onstage, the kids are rocking…Like