Funk supergroup Kamani performs live at Shakedown Bar |

Funk supergroup Kamani performs live at Shakedown Bar

Robert “Sput” Searight, Kat Dyson, Matt Lapham, Nikki Glaspie and Xavier Taplin form funk supergroup Kamani.
Michael Weintrob/Courtesy Photo

This week, a new funk supergroup called Kamani will be performing at Shakedown Bar in Vail Village this Thursday on the first leg of their three-night Colorado tour.

Kamani is a powerful funk collective founded by Nikki Glaspie, one of the most celebrated drummers of our time. Glaspie has played for famed bands like The Nth Power and Beyonce, and during the pandemic she brought a group of her close friends in the industry together to deliver healing to the world through music.

The band has taken various forms over the past year, with core members Glaspie, bassist Matt Lapham (Roosevelt Collier and Shak Nasti) and guitarist Kat Dyson (Prince’s New Power Generation and Cindy Lauper) being joined by other powerhouse musicians for a number of short-term tours around the country.

At this week’s show, the band will be rounded out by keyboardist Xavier Taplin of Ghost-Note and TOTO and Robert “Sput” Searight, a seven-time Grammy award winner and one of the most influential drummers and producers in modern music.

Kamani performs deep cuts from ’70s and ’80s funk music, with a level of virtuosity that can only be achieved with a group of this caliber and experience. Searight said that the creation of the band was very easy and organic, because on top of attaining technical mastery in their respective instruments, all of the artists share a deep love and understanding of the music that they are playing.

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​​“Just identifying our sound was so easy, it was so unique, because we all grew up on the same music and we were adamant about playing the deep cuts,” Searight said. “This is a group of people that — given our studies of music and our studies of genres — goes way beyond having to actually learn a song. The fact that we all knew the deep cuts and could play them without even having rehearsal — to me that’s what stood out the most. It was internally embedded in our systems.”

Funk music has fallen in popularity since its heyday, but Kamani was not created in response to what is popular.

“As a professional, what’s popular has always been dictated by the radio, and in the social media world it is essential to be relevant, so going against the grain is almost career suicide, you know, but for some reason I don’t even care,” Searight said. “The music is real, and I think right now the music being real is what resonates with people, even if they don’t understand it.”

The name Kamani comes from a healing tree native to the Hawaiian islands, and represents the band’s mission to help heal our society’s wounds through song and dance. Searight draws parallels between Kamani’s origins in the pandemic and the origins of funk music at large in the 1970s.

The name Kamani comes from a healing tree native to the Hawaiian islands.
Kamani/Courtesy Photo

“We were coming out of the Civil Rights movement, and music kind of was the lifter to everything that was going on, all the chaos,” Searight said. “I think we’re back there now. I think now, people are talking too much, so dance is going to be the thing that helps us heal from a lot of hard times. We make sure that we’re singing songs that feel good, sound good and can really help.”

The songs that Kamani plays are high energy and uplifting, and are intended to get people up out of their seats. To experience the healing nature of funk music, and to witness some of the highest musicality in the country, tickets to the show can be purchased for $20 at Eventbrite under the name “Live from Shakedown: Kamani”.

Doors open at 9 p.m., and the music will begin at 9:30 p.m.

If you go …

What: Kamani Live Performance

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: Shakedown Bar in Vail Village

Price: $20, purchase at Eventbrite

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