Inspired by the music of Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France, Hawaii’s very own Gypsy 808 plays mainly swing dance music of the ’30s and ’40s in the gypsy jazz style. Many of the tunes are drawn from the Great American Songbook, but several composed by Reinhardt and others are unique to gypsy jazz. The band also plays many more recent tunes inspired by the style. As swing was equally popular in Hawaii at the time, Gypsy 808 usually includes a few Hawaiian numbers featuring lead guitarist Emmett Mahoney on lap steel guitar.
Other band members include: International award-winning jazz vocalist Nikki Dee; Joseph Zayac and Alika Lyman on rhythm guitar; Norm Foster on clarinet; Jason Gay on soprano and tenor saxophones; Alex Morrison on upright bass; Kalei Yamanoha on accordion and trombone; and Elijah Oguma on drums. This instrumentation is reflective of Django’s post-WWII band. Having performed in many venues around town for several years, swing dancers are often seen tearing up the dance floor!
Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
Nikki Dee is an award-winning vocalist specializing in a unique blend of international jazz and cabaret repertoire in the original languages. Nikki was crowned the 2017 Seattle-Kobe Vocal Jazz Queen and was a 2017 Earshot Jazz Award finalist for NW Vocalist of the Year. Well-known for her “World Tour of Jazz” concerts, she performs in over 10 languages in multiple jazz styles. She has performed throughout the mainland U.S. and in France, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. Born on Maui and raised on O’ahu, Nikki’s roots run deep in Hawaiʻi nei, and she recently returned to her hometown of Honolulu where she performs with several jazz, gypsy swing, and Hawaiian music projects.
Alex Morrison plays both upright and electric basses in a variety of styles ranging from straight ahead jazz to Americana. Some of the national and local artists he has worked with include Peter Rowen, Laurie Lewis, Barbara Higbie, Taimane Gardner, Hawaiian Style Band, Saloon Pilots, Gypsy 808, Chris Yeh Quartet, and Hook and Line. Alex has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa.
Hawai'i native Alika Lyman is a musician and teacher with 20 years experience and proficient in many styles including Jazz, Latin, Classical, Pop/Rock, RnB, Soul, Funk and Blues. Alika has shared the stage with: Gene Bertoncini, Bobby Broom, Valery Ponomarev, Tommy James (Duke Ellington Orchestra), Bobby Watson, Delfeayo Marsalis, Rob Scheps, and Paula Fuga, among others.
Elijah Oguma is a dynamic and versatile drummer and percussionist from Ewa Beach, Hawaii. He is a Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning artist and has performed alongside Raiatea Helm, Henry Kapono, John Cruz, Brother Noland, Empire of the Sun, and Eli Mac, among others.
Kalei Yamanoha is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based out of Honolulu, Hawai'i. He has spent the last ten years traveling the globe playing alongside circuses, theater troupes and leading his own projects only to land back home in Hawai'i after being based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kalei's non-musical passions are to mālama ka 'āina as he works in environmental conservation, and he is an aspiring mahi'ai o kalo.
- Norm Foster has been a member of the Honolulu Symphony (now Hawai'i Symphony) since 1985. He is active in the local music community, as both an orchestral clarinetist and chamber music artist. Joining the Symphony as Second/E-flat Clarinetist, he has also played Acting Associate Principal for six seasons, and additionally plays bass clarinet, basset horn, piano and saxophone. Norm also enjoys playing other styles of music, such as jazz, pop, klezmer and music of the Balkans and Middle East. He is a member of Gypsy 808, Sherele, and Island Oasis, and also performs with his wife, singer Ruth Shiroma Foster.