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by Stephaniejoy Alliman, staff writer

Hundreds packed Chinatown Mardi Gras’ main stage at the corner of Nu‘uanu and Hotel streets this Fat Tuesday to see local band Black Square, fresh from a recent tour in California.
“ It’s good to be back in Hawai‘i. This is home to us,” said lead guitarist Josh86 during the performance.
Black Square started seven years ago in Chinatown, playing in a basement on Pauahi Street. Its current performance, according to manager Dr. Serena Hashimoto, an associate professor of communication at HPU and producer of their last two albums, was “a great opportunity to reflect on their roots and remember how far they have come.”
Black Square, a trio in 2002, named themselves after artist Kasimir Malevich’s painting of a black square on top of a white square. The painting, like the band’s philosophy, explores the idea of stimulating thought and emotion using art to change perception.
Since 2002, Black Square has integrated its repertoire with a mixture of reggae, ska (a blend of jazz, swing, punk, and island), and a little bit of punk rock.
During this Mardi Gras celebration, the band’s sax and trombone created a Bourbon Street mood, while still maintaining its genre-blurring style.
Black Square’s lyrics echo political and social issues central to Hawai‘i. To songs about Chinatown (the venue in which they performed for Mardi Gras), and songs about “rising up” to address denial of civil rights to minorities, the band demonstrates that it cares deeply about its home.
Black Square has released three albums, End the Cycle in 2004, One Glass of Water in 2007, and most recently, Onward in 2008. Other band members include Babyface McEvan playing tenor sax, T.R. playing alto sax, Kat playing bass, Brian Kim playing drums, and G-Bone (who celebrated his birthday on Fat Tuesday) playing trombone.


 

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