Different beat: Dirty Cello joins Chamber Orchestra of Kona on the stage

KAILUA-KONA — San Francisco-based musician Rebecca Roudman has been playing music since she was seven, when she was classically trained on the cello.

What started as a hobby she learned just for fun has turned into a career touring the world with her band, Dirty Cello, and performing something very different from classical music.

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“Classical music was never my first love,” Roudman said. “So, I started Dirty Cello because that was the kind of music I liked, and it turned out that other people like it as well.”

Dirty Cello is a cello-led blues and bluegrass band that has been on six international tours and will be touring Hawaii Island this week for the third time since the band formed seven years ago.

The band will perform a concert with the Chamber Orchestra of Kona at 6 p.m. Sunday at the luau grounds of the Sheraton Kona. The combined group will play the Blues Cello Concerto, a three movement piece that spans 80 years of recorded blues music. General admission to the concert is $10.

Also part of the band is bass player Colin Williams, drummer Cory Aboud and guitarist Jason Eckl, who is also Roudman’s husband.

“A concert with an orchestra is a bit unusual for us, but we really like performing with orchestras,” Roudman said. “There will be about 40 people packed on the stage.”

The band’s style of music can also be described as unusual. Roudman said the band likes giving their audience a wide variety to listen to.

“We’re not just a band playing one type of music.” Roudman said. “When we’re performing a concert, we’ll play songs like ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ and then switch to ‘Purple Haze’ by Jimi Hendrix, and then play one of our original songs. It’s a huge mix of different music.”

Dirty Cello will also perform a concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Volcano Art Center’s Ni’aulani campus. Tickets for Tuesday’s concert are $25 and $20 for VAC members.

Roudman began playing Dirty Cello’s unique style of music in college, when her and her husband Eckl first started playing together. She said that playing with her husband adds another level of enjoyment to touring.

“Playing for us isn’t work,” Roudman said. “So touring together feels like a vacation.”

Those vacations include playing at venues in places such as China, Italy, Spain and Germany, where Dirty Cello has experienced playing in different environments.

“We were in China in a 1,000-seat concert hall, and here we were rocking out to Michael Jackson in a classical musical setting,” Roudman said. “And in Italy, before the show began, we sat down to have dinner at 8 at night, and then drinks, and then shots of coffee. And then after all that, we went out a 10 p.m. and played a really high energy show.”

And now, Roudman and Dirty Cello will once again get to experience performing in Hawaii.

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“There’s just something special about Hawaii to me,” Roudman said. “It’s the people, the weather, the beaches. It’s just paradise.”

Information: For Sunday’s concert, visit www.chamberorchestraofkona.com/home.html. For Tuesday’s concert, visit volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-8222.