Hula Rosie entertains with song and humor. Courtesy Dana Land
Take a fresh peel from Carmen Miranda, add a schemer from Better Midler, pull a scat from Ella Fitzgerald and a hop from Hilo Hattie, and the multiple-personality persona emerges as Hula Rosie. Described as the “Hostess of Aloha,” Hula Rosie is the alter ego of jazz artist Dana Land who created the amiable character 15 years ago when she was living in Northern California.
“I draw my inspiration from all those women,” Land says. “I’ve always loved to sing, I’ve always loved to dance, and I’ve always loved to entertain.”
Since moving back to O‘ahu three-and-a-half years ago, Land has dusted off her Hula Rosie props — including her coconut shell bra, tacky faux lei and over-the-top bouffant wig — and collaborated with local musicians to create a new “Tropical Revue,” which will be staged on May 21 at the Doris Duke Theatre. According to Land, the show is 80 percent music, and 20 percent dance and comedy.
“The show features a quintet made up of some of the island’s most hip and talented cats,” Land says. “We’ve got pianist Ethan Capone, bassist Ian Sheridan, drummer Mark Lindberg, woodwindist Rockford Holmes and trumpeter Mike Lewis, along with two adorable and talented Cabana Boys —Sterling Beair and Gabriel Giasolli who compete for Hula Rosie’s attention.”
The tongue-and-cheek show’s music will include such rhythms as calypso, samba, cha-cha, American swing and Hawaiian swing. Think Harry Belafonte, Carmen Miranda and Land’s own original music, which critics and fellow musicians have hailed as “seductive,” “sweet” and “playfully lascivious.”
“Dana brings a most positively infectious spirit and energy to the bandstand and to the audience,” writes legendary jazz pianist Larry Vuckovich, who collaborated with Land on her CD “All the Cats Join In.” “The musicians, as well as the audience, are immediately affected by her strong rhythmic and melodic phrasing and her soulful vocal sound. The enjoyment that she has while performing has a lasting effect on everyone who hears her.”
And Land plans to bring that infectious sound to the Doris Duke stage as Hula Rosie.
Tickets to the all-ages concert cost $20 for Honolulu Museum of Art members and $25 for non-members, and can be purchased online at Honolulumuseum.org or by calling 532.6097.