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Taj Mahal - Part One - Off The Road with Dave Lawrence

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Stephan Teller
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Find the entire Off The Road series at hawaiipublicradio.org/offtheroad.

Today, HPR All Things Considered Host Dave Lawrence welcomes back a returning guest with strong Hawaiʻi connections who has been on the show for a decade now: music legend Taj Mahal, a one-time resident of the Garden Island.

We caught up with Taj at his home in Berkeley, California, in the San Francisco Bay area.

Taj Mahal is a musical treasure, a multi-instrumentalist emerging on the scene in the late 1960s, and sharing his background which led to a string of recordings featuring blues, sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, the South Pacific and other far flung regions. Today in part one of our two-part Off The Road episode, he shares how he and his remarkable half century career have been touched by the pandemic. His last concerts, ironically, before the crisis shutdown entertainment venues around the world, were here in Honolulu, at the Blue Note Hawaii. Taj explained how he’s used the downtime to reconnect with himself and his family. He also dug deeply into the awakening of the ongoing dialog sparked by the police killings George Floyd and other African Americans. He also shares his personal journey that led to him once living here in the Aloha State.

Tomorrow we’ll devote the entire part two of the episode to highlighting some of the fascinating work he’s done on the visual end. Taj has appeared in numerous films and TV shows, and part two will offer select stories based on some of his favorite film experiences. We’ll also post the complete new interview.

MORE:

We’ve been blessed to have Taj as a guest going back to 2011: hear his complete 2011 advance interview, and his nearly hour-long complete 2020 interview.

Watch his 2011 backstage interview:

Watch his 2015 Atherton Studio interview/performance session:

Off The Road started in April 2020 when the pandemic led to a halt in the touring entertainment industry. Connecting with artists around the world since, we’ve offered intimate conversations and many exclusive musical performances with some of the biggest names in music, spanning many genres, eras and styles. Some of the highlight artists we’ve welcomed so far include John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Al Di Meola, 10,000 Maniacs, Alice Cooper, Soul Asylum, Deep Purple, Third World, George Benson, Heart, Joe Satriani, The Doors, Randy Brecker, Peter Frampton and System of a Down.

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Dave Lawrence has been on the radio since 1990.
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