A longtime Maui singer who combines a professional music career with teaching and political activism will perform at the ProArts Playhouse on Friday.
Nara Boone, the former lead singer of the acclaimed “Red” show, will pay tribute to his family and his favorite music.
“I want to tap into the music I love and the songs that have inspired me over my 35+ year career,” Boone explained. “I love soul and R&B, but I sing different kinds of music.”
Boone also wears many different hats — she’s featured on Marty Dredd’s latest album, teaches music at Haiku Elementary School and is a spokesperson for the Maui Housing Hui, which advocates for tenants. In 2022, she ran for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia seat on the Maui County Council and advanced from five candidates before losing to Nohe U’u-Hodgins.
Friday’s ProArts show will serve as a memorial to her father, photographer Chico Boone, who was killed in 1996 while biking on Maui, and her late mother, Tina Garzero, a well-known midwife on the island.
This multi-talented artist will sing “things that mean a lot like Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry, only with the memory of my dad singing it in his voice while doing the dishes and wearing his headphones so he couldn’t be heard.” And probably “Time After Time”, which I remember one day when we were just coming home from school and the song came on. We sat in the car until he finished sharing Skittles because he was saying what a great song it was.”
She will perform among her original songs “The echo remains.”
“This is about my mother’s death. When someone leaves us, the echo of their love still remains with us.” Boone said.
The third oldest of nine children, Boon learned to read music as a student at Haiku Elementary School and later studied classical music at Mainland College, but was initially not seen as a singer in her family, crediting her talent to her older sister Chana. That changed one night after a party in Spreckelsville.
“My sister Chana was the singer of the family,” she said. “We all sang in the car when my parents picked up hitchhikers. We thought it would be great if we could sing a song in Hawaiian and English. Then, my freshman year of high school, I went to a party. My sister wanted to stay longer and I wanted to go home, so I jumped in the car of other Haiku kids who were coming back. I was singing along to Bob Marley’s ‘Legend’ album that was playing and the guy in the passenger seat turned around and he said, ‘Have you ever wanted to be in a band? I’m Marty. That’s how I started with Marty Dread. My sister Chana and I became his backup singers. It was Marty Dread and Culture Shock.”
Boone appeared on a number of Marty Dredd’s albums including “On the beach,” “Next level” and his last entry, “What You Mean To Me” of the song “Bewitched”. She has sung on about 25 albums, including the soundtrack to the groundbreaking “Red” show.
Boone spent 10 years with the innovative production at Lahaina’s Maui Theatre, which features original Hawaiian music by Keola Beamer and Nona Beamer and chants by Charles Ka’upu and O’Brian Eselu.
“It was pretty amazing, amazing,” she recalled. “It was its own university. The cast, we all grew up together, started having kids together, just everything. I sang and walked on stilts and played the queen at the fall of the monarchy. What we brought stateside was the beginning of aerial work in Hawaii. It was the first non-luau show that showcased authentic Hawaiian culture in a way that hadn’t been shown before. I was one of two lead singers for the first 10 years I did it.”
After the show ended, she was invited to audition for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.
“I got into their database, where they source all their talent, and I’ve auditioned for five or six different roles over the last 13 years,” she said.
Cirque du Soleil is currently developing a Hawaii-themed show that will debut in late 2024 in Waikiki.
During his career, Boone played with Maui’s Crazy Fingers for many years, opened for The Wailers in Los Angeles, and sang at various Maui resorts, including The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua.
“My main is the Ritz,” she said. “I was there two to three nights a week, usually with Liz Morales. We were there the night before the fires. As I drove through the Thousand Peaks, the car was crawling because it was a dust storm. We couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead. Obviously, I haven’t played there since.”
And she’s had a chance to really rock it on Maui.
“About five years ago I was invited to do Zeptember, the Led Zeppelin tribute show, and I discovered how much I loved it,” she said. “The last month of September we had before COVID, I sang four songs, more than anyone else, including ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Rain Song.’ I felt really scared going up against Led Zeppelin as an R&B singer, but it was just so much fun.”
Boone will bring his array of talents “An Intimate Evening with Nara Bun” at 7:30pm Friday at ProArts Playhouse. She will be backed by Josh Hurl on guitar, Jonathan Quah on bass and Jordan Kamikawa on drums. For tickets, which are $30 for premium seating and $25 for regular seating, call (808) 463-6550.