Carol Forsloff—In Hawaii where artistry of many kinds virtually defines the cultural landscape, Sammy Hollenberg stands out as special for more than just her vocal talent, with a personality and style that makes her sizzle with the many cultural flavors local people enjoy. She and her husband Jack offer multicultural diversity through their music in ways that embrace the aloha spirit.
Sammy, a native of Canada, and Jack, originally from Holland and now a Canadian citizen, perform virtually every kind of music with professional flair, as they interact with an audience in a fashion that makes everyone believe the performance is for him or her. As part-time residents of Hawaii they are beginning to establish a strong musical presence on the Leeward Coast of Oahu at a restaurant called Tacos and More.
Tacos and More on the Waianae Coast brings appreciative crowds to dance, clap, shout, whistle or listen in rapt attention to the various strings of guitar and dobro, of nylon and steel, that makes blues songs wail and standards sound brand new as Sammy and Jack offer their musical eloquence that speaks of many things. Their music embraces many genres, including originals they both compose. A restaurant bar with a Mexican theme brings an assortment of regulars, tourists and those just passing through. A balmy Saturday evening offers the context where sun, sea and gentle breezes trade with lusty sounds that stream from a small stage where Sammy and Jack bring overflow crowds to enjoy their music.
Sammy was born and raised on a farm in Canada, where she was literally brought into the world by a local neighbor, when her parents were unable to finish the journey to the hospital in the dead of winter. Sammy’s mother traveled over roads laden with snow and ended up giving birth in the back of a truck with the help of a farm wife nearby. And just like the humble beginnings that toughened her birth, Sammy knows how to meet life head on and has since the day she entered the world as an infant. For Sammy offers the total woman who can plant and hoe the farm fields, raise children, decorate a home with artistic flair and cook a variety of tasty treats for friends and family. Then she brings her full-bodied voice to thrilling heights in any setting where she happens to perform.
It was on a farm, the kind where Sammy had been raised, that she started her career. She was discovered by a radio jock who overheard her sing as she was doing her daily chores. This discovery led to an invitation for her to enter a talent competition, which she promptly won., and that subsequently led to a contract with Royalty records where she recorded a number of singles that eventually became part of a hit parade of songs that have made Sammy popular in many places from Canada to Hawaii and in many areas of Europe.
The talents of Sammy and Jack are fused in nearly everything they do. Jack, an electrician by trade, can build anything from houses to stringed instruments, while Sammy’s skills as photographer and design artistry make their home a showcase in the Makaha Plantation home where they live while in Hawaii. They also built their home in Canada, where Jack has a business using his building skills, and Sammy owns and manages a health and wellness company that focuses on nutrition, using the two-year training she had to become a chef.
The Hollenberg’s will leave Hawaii at the end of the first week of April, hoping to return in the winter to perform in the local clubs of Hawaii. In the meantime, their fans look forward to their music, as Saturday nights are filled with fun with Sammy and Jack’s wonderful music and their unique way of making everyone around feel special too.
In the meantime, find them at silkandsteel.ca.