By MEGAN MOSELEY
Tribune-Herald staff writer
For Nahko Bear, returning to Hilo for a two-night engagement at the Palace Theater signifies a special kind of homecoming.
Nahko and Medicine for the People, his band, have been travelling around the country sharing their soulful harmonies with new fans and followers. As they continue to grow in popularity, Bear said that no matter where they perform, he’ll never forget where it all started.
“I did so much groundwork here. I have deep roots here,” he said. “A lot of songs have been written between living in Hawaii and travelling around the country. It’s been super influential in my growth and spirituality, so it should be a really epic homecoming.”
During an interview with the Tribune-Herald, Bear reflected upon his early days of performing at open-mic nights and working as his own self-promoter on the Big Island. While working on a farm for several years, Bear said he would play for free at places such as the Bayfront Kava Bar. Unsure of where the music would take him, Bear started to evolve as an artist, taking on the practice as more of a calling.
Since then, Nahko and Medicine for the People have gained notoriety on the mainland and elsewhere. They released their latest album “Dark as Night” in April, and they’re quickly making a name for themselves. The album was listed as Billboard’s No. 6 Top Heat Seeker/New Artist Album and was rated the No. 4 Top Alternative New Artists Album. They recently wrapped up an eight-week South Pacific tour where they sold out venues across Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, and have more than a million views on their “Aloha Ke Akua” YouTube video.
Bear describes the experience of touring around the world and entering the limelight as “humbling.”
“These songs are my prayers, and the fact that people can relate to them, well, I think that’s nothing short of wild.
“It’s one thing to write the stories of my life and to share them with others, and it’s another thing to see people receive it and make it their own story and to watch that unfold,” he said.
Nahko and Medicine for the People will perform at the Palace on Thursday, Nov. 14 and Friday, Nov. 15. Paula Fuga and Mike Love are will open on Thursday and Dustin Thomas will open on Friday. The shows start at 7 p.m. and are scheduled to last until midnight.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Order tickets online at hilopalace.com, or purchase by phone at 934-7010.
E-mail Megan Moseley at mmoseley@hawaii tribune-herald.com