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Local drummer Calvin Canha's debut album celebrates his love of reggae

Calvin Canha's stage name is Drumwise
Kingdom Purpose
Calvin Canha's stage name is Drumwise

One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic are the stories of people who turned lockdowns and restrictions into opportunities. One of those stories belongs to Maui-native Calvin Canha, known better within Hawaiʻi’s music industry as Drumwise.

Calvin Canha, also known as Drumwise
Carlos Mozo
Calvin Canha, also known as Drumwise

The percussionist and producer has worked and traveled with artists Paula Fuga, Kimie, and others since 2004. This year, he released his debut album, "Reflection Riddim," recorded entirely during the pandemic.

It celebrates his love of reggae and features several international and local artists, like Peetah Morgan and Fiji, on vocals.

The Conversation got the chance to speak to Canha about his music background and what it was like recording an album while navigating social distancing.

"For me, the way that I would ideally work is if I get in a room with somebody, and work through things, communicate ideas, but since this whole pandemic, everybody's at home. We weren't going over to each other's houses or meeting up in a studio, it was just all done remote," he said.

"So that was challenging, not being able to just bounce ideas with somebody in real-time, and vibing with them — seeing their head bobbing or seeing their facial expressions. It was just sending files back and forth, sending ideas back and forth, Zoom meetings, and FaceTime calls and huge amounts of texts and emails and stuff like that," Canha said.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Oct. 26, 2021.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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