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Vivo's Music Puts You In the Mood for Romance

Photo: Courtesy of Jo-Anne Yamane

You’re working late downtown on a Tuesday and notice that a colleague you wish you knew better is also working late. I suggest a brief walk together to The Dragon Upstairs, which is above Hank’s Café at 1038 Nuuanu Ave.

It’s a perfectly discrete little bar with intimate bistro tables that lubricate small talk. Most important, every other Tuesday, the dark bar with the giant dragon on the wall features Vivo, a local trio with a playlist that nicely tips the scales toward romance.

Vivo is Ruth Shiroma Foster, an award-winning songwriter on piano, ukulele and vocals; Hoku award-winner Duane Padilla on violin and rhythm guitar (he also plays with the Hot Club of Hulaville and the Hawaii Symphony); and composer, arranger and Hawaii Symphony clarinetist Norman Foster, known for adding jazz and pop improvisations.

Vivo is playful and romantic. Interspersed with original compositions, the group offers unique interpretations of Cole Porter, Elton John, Carol King, ’80s music and Broadway ballads.

“We’ve been having a great group of regulars come down, including swing dancers,” Foster says. “The vibe is very friendly and open.”


Vivo performs at The Dragon Upstairs on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.

Every bit of the $5 cover charge goes to Vivo.

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Hawaii Business,January