Nalani & Sarina take the stage as comfortably as if they walked into their living room. The identical twin sister/vocal powerhouse duo would not feel out of place opening for a pop blockbuster like Taylor Swift, on stage at the Newport Folk Fest, or uptown New York at the Apollo Theater. The girls recently played as part of the “NYC Rock n’ Roll Girls Club” at Greenpoint’s Bar Matchless and brought with them their uniquely modernized blast from the past.
The girls performed a multi-instrumental acoustic set and managed to bring all the energy and fullness of a live band. This was particularly impressive considering the sisters are so tiny, they make their ukuleles look like full sized Fenders.
They opened the show with my personal favorite “Raw Sugar”. The track is infectious and makes their vocal prowess and musicianship abundantly clear. Some other notable moments from the set were “There I Go” featuring the warmth you can only get from strong vocal harmonies and compelling lyrical narrative, the catchy “Please Don’t Stop The Rain,” and an imaginative ukulele cover of “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones. The girls were having the time of their lives on stage and their energy was so contagious that the crowd responded in kind. Nothing about Nalani & Sarina is artificial or seemingly choreographed.
The girls, clearly, are in touch with their musical roots. “We went to folk festivals as kids and are very inspired by 60s soul music. When you watch people like Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder perform, they are having an out of body experience” the girls explained. “Nothing too technical, and purely from emotion. The best way to describe it is a fusion of catchy lyrics and feel good music” and this really is the best way to describe Nalani & Sarina. When asked about their writing process, Nalani immediately says “it’s not OCD- we are just very involved.” The identical twin sisters collaborate on everything, and remind us that they are not the type of twins that hate being with each other. “There are some songs where we will finish each others lines and other songs where we find that every single thing that we write has a part of both of us.”
Although they are heavily influenced by these bygone days of music, Nalani & Sarina’s creations are fresh, relevant, and comparable to current chart-topping hits. The girls talk a lot about achieving “a human feeling” in their music. “Great music that is well written and well played never goes out of style. That’s what we strive for in every song that we write- to be well played and well produced. That is what we believe in and there’s a niche out there for people who still believe in that too.” Their full-length album “Lessons Learned” really encapsulates these goals with their live studio recording and ensemble of amazing musicians.
Nalani & Sarina will be in town again June 18th at the Bitter End for their album release- and they are a must-see. Their live show will instantly put you in a good mood and it makes the perfect night out this spring.