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Okinawa's Own Blue Diamond in the Rough

By: Jena Maddalino

Date Posted: 2000-04-21

In a case of mistaken identity, local band Blue Diamond is often labeled as "Country". Even though the band has a sense of humor about such labels, Blue Diamond actually performs a diverse mix of music from Blues to Rock. Although the group covers songs from other musical talents such as Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow, their musical style is anything but typical. "We play music that our audience wants to hear as well as music that we love," says vocalist Kellie Wright.

A powerful mix of Rock, Jazz and Blues makes this band a real gem in the music world of Okinawa.

Their unique sound is most likely due in part to the band members' diverse background. This group is made up of pure talent: bass player Katchan, experienced in Rock; guitar player Kazufumi, who loves Hard Rock with a passion; drummer Mike Robles, with a strong background in Jazz; and vocalist Kellie Wright.

"I performed mostly Jazz and Fusion before I joined Blue Diamond….we all come from different backgrounds which gives our music a unique edge," drummer Mike Robles said. Robles is the only American member; Kazufumi and Katchan are both Okinawan.

Australian born Wright has a voice that has often been described as "Joplinesque", similar to that of musical legend Janis Joplin. Sexy, sultry and strong is the best we to describe her style as she does the one thing she was born to do best. " I come from a family of talent... I knew at a young age that performing was what I wanted to do. If I am not singing I am miserable," Wright told Japan Update.

Wright started at the young age of 16, when she made her leap and landed in Las Vegas. As soon as she was able to get her foot in the door, she performed in the big shows and went on to do musicals. Wright's singing experiences have included Country, Rock, Top 40, Musical Theatre, Jazz and Blues.

Wright joined forces with the other band members to form Blue Diamond roughly a year and a half ago. Since that time, the group has performed at various clubs, including Al's Place in Okinawa City and the Camp Shields' Crow's Nest.

As the band continues to evolve, Rock and Blues fans can look forward to some original sounds from the group in the future. Blue Diamond plans to perform original music and are currently working with a production company based out of Tokyo. "We don't want to be just a cover band…we want to write our own lyrics," says Wright.

Wright will soon be hosting a TV show as well. "Take 5" will be aired on cable Channel 13 on Thursday's at 7pm and will cover events, music and anything else associated with the Blues and Rock world on Okinawa. Blue Diamond's next performance will be on April 21st at the Crow's Nest on Camp Shields. For more information about Kellie Wright and Blue Diamond, check out www.kelliewright.homepage.com or email BlueDiamondBand@hotmail.com.

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