Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Bassist Nalani returns to Rock & Rails


August 16, 2018

Karen A. Dombrowski-Sobel

Nalani at her 2017 Rock & Rails show. She enjoys performing for her “friend-fans and family-fans” when she returns to Niwot.

Niwot-based performer Nalani may be spending a lot of time with her music pals in Nashville these days, but she will always have a soft spot for her hometown concert series.

“I was practically raised at Rock & Rails,” the bassist and vocalist said. “That environment is where I learned to love music.”

Nalani returns with her bass to Rock & Rails on Aug. 16 as the opening act for the vocal band Face, another local act garnering nationwide following. Nalani’s mother is Satir Demarco, a longtime Niwot resident and area music promoter. Unsurprisingly, the performer said she’s most comfortable watching and performing live music, thanks to a youth spent going from show to show with her mom.

“There’s nothing like being able to read and feel and interact with an audience,” she said. “And you can really follow the energy of a band.”

For the past several months, Nalani has been splitting her time between Colorado and Tennessee, where she has been playing with “progressive-jazz-soul” band MELD and exploring some new musical stylings with mentor Regi Wooten of the Wooten Brothers.

“He’s really into encouraging old-style classic Motown, the oldies,” she said. “That’s what really moves people even to this day.”

She has also been learning the ins and outs of the music industry by watching MELD’s Melanie Dewey, as she took her self-produced tour across the mid-Atlantic.

“She self-promoted and booked everything,” Nalani said. “It’s really cool and inspiring. Part of the reason I wanted to be on the tour was to observe how one does that for myself. For stepping into the role of being an artist and a leader in that way.”

Nalani has a few more Colorado shows on her summer schedule, as well as a number in Nashville. After that, she plans to start thinking more long term.

“I’m looking forward to taking the fall to really shed, so to speak, and work up some solo arrangements,” she said. “There’s a niche market for solo bass performances, which I do with my upright, but I’d like to integrate my electric. Then I’d like to use that as a start for writing some more music and starting to develop myself as a front man and an artist.”

Until then, Nalani said she is looking forward to being back on more familiar territory.

“Playing Rock & Rails is getting back to my roots because it’s home,” she said. “I get to see everyone I grew up with, all the neighbors. I feel like I get ultimate support from my family and friend fans.

“Throughout the years, it’s been a really great and free space to really craft my solo show,” she continued. “It’s exactly what music is about for me. It’s bringing people together and sharing.”


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