‘Soul Time’ Spans Time Zones
By Roger Bong
A year brings change and opportunity. Last fall I started a new career, met my fiancée, seeded the beginnings of my record label and noticed a new venue open across the street from Jelly’s in Kakaako: Bevy.
As it turns out, the word “bevy” means two things: slang in England for “a drink” (co-owner Christian Self is from Liverpool), and defined in the dictionary as “a group or a gathering of the same kind.”
As a bar, Bevy’s outstanding cocktail menu draws returning guests (if you haven’t had one yet, go!).†As a venue, Bevy provides a relaxed atmosphere where friends can enjoy food, conversation and music (co-owner Timo Lee regularly DJs around town).
This was Christian and Timo’s intent when they opened last year: to be a cornerstone of the community, a neighborhood bar where people gather.
A year ago, I met a London-based DJ named Cedric Bardawil. He had fallen in love with Hawaiian music, fascinated by artists like Mackey Feary, Aura, Mike Lundy and Nohelani Cypriano. We regularly traded records via snail mail, and soon Cedric owned a small collection of Hawaiian vinyl.†We wanted others to share our passion for Hawaii’s music, so we created a party in London and Hawaii to celebrate groove-laden island music. We called it Soul Time In Hawaii.
We wanted to provide people with the opportunity to hear local funk, jazz, disco and soul — music that often exists only on vinyl, out of print, yet retains a timelessness that deserves to be enjoyed by everyone everywhere. When looking for a Honolulu venue to host Soul Time, I approached Bevy. Cedric choose Brilliant Corners, a London venue that opened a few months after Bevy. Brilliant Corners draws a similar crowd that enjoys food, music and community.
Our Soul Time parties launched in London and Honolulu in March.
“Whilst I haven’t visited Bevy yet,†Brilliant Corners†has a musically diverse programme ranging from album-listening sessions to live reinterpretations of classic jazz albums,” Cedric tells me. “Things that weren’t previously done in the area.”
Bevy similarly offers music-focused events featuring live musicians, internationally recognized DJs, and Honolulu’s favorite vinyl pop-up, Secret Record Store.
Now — a year after I met Cedric, a year after Bevy and Brilliant Corners opened their doors — Cedric is shifting focus from Hawaii to explore his city’s regional music, hosting Soul Time In London Oct. 29 at Brilliant Corners. At Bevy, Soul Time In Hawaii is held every last Thursday, happening Oct. 30 this month.
Bevy’s one-year anniversary is a testament to hard work paying off: It’s the only place of its kind in the area — a hub for music, food and culture, isolated from the nightlife scenes of Chinatown and Waikiki — yet it continues to foster the surrounding community.
And, as I’ve learned this year, hubs like Bevy thrive when everyone pitches in: from the bar owners to music promoters to patrons who walk through the front door.
I look forward to seeing what we build together in the coming year. alohagotsoul.com