Tulare man plays heavy metal with a small guitar

Edward Hernandez performs ukulele tribute to alternative heavy metal band Deftones on Feb. 1 in Visalia

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – If you thought Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s ukulele version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow changed your view of the diminutive guitar and its ability to have a big impact on a song, you won’t want to miss a local man who is using the instrument to take on heavy metal. 

Edward Lizardo Hernandez of Tulare will be using his “uke” skills to pay tribute to the Deftones, an alternative heavy metal band based in Sacramento. The band is best known for its experimental nature and won a Grammy for the performance of their single Elite in 2001. The unique musical tribute will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St. in Visalia. Admission is $5. 

Hernandez started playing music at the age of 9 and now plays more than 10 instruments including the bass guitar and ukulele. He has performed with many acts through the years that include Tulare’s own metal group, Harsh, Visalia’s own-Not Perfect Humans, American Idol contestant-Melinda Lira, international Latin rock band, Vitál, and post rock group from Fresno, We Killed the King. 

While on the road with Vitál, he has performed at Dodger Stadium, House of Blues, The Conga Room, Plaza Mexico, Hard Rock Café, Universal City Walk and many other places. With Vitál, the have opened up for acts such as Alejandra Guzman, A.B. Quintanilla, Inspector, Dulce Maria and Roberto Tapia. 

He won Ukulele Magazine’s Ukulele Holly Jolly Contest in 2013 and Ukulele Magazine’s fall video contest in 2014. Currently on his web site, www.edwardukulele.com, Hernandez features ukulele covers of Another Rainy Day in New York City by Chicago and Dream On by Aerosmith. 

It’s not as surprising as you might think to find an expert in the art of the Hawaiian guitar living in Tulare. The ukulele is actually based on several small stringed instruments of Portuguese origin, such as the machete, caaquinho, timple and rajao. Portuguese immigrants from Madeira and Cape Verde introduced the Hawaiian islands in the 1870s. Regaled by the immigrants’ nightly street concerts, King Kalākaua was an ardent supporter of the instrument and incorporated it into performances at royal gatherings. Portuguese culture is alive and well in Tulare and no doubt played a part in inspiring Hernandez to give high praise to the mini guitar. 

For more information on upcoming concerts at the Cellar Door, visit cellardoor101.com.

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