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Sweet HayaH

Sweet HayaH performs at Blue Note Napa on June 20.

Sweet HayaH from San Jose makes its debut at Blue Note Napa with two shows on June 20.

While this will be Sweet HayaH’s first Blue Note appearance, the band is not a stranger to Napa. The high- energy quintet has played the last two Napa Porchfests, and last summer at Napa City Nights.

In addition, Sweet HayaH has kept up a touring schedule, including shows at Austin, Texas' SXSW, in Georgia, Florida, and all along the West Coast. Last year, Sweet HayaH released an album called “Gentle Lies,” produced by Todd Jeremias. This album was recorded and produced over several months and at multiple studios, including the Prairie Sun Studio in Cotati.

Sweet HayaH was formed in 2011, combining singer/songwriter and pianist Nehal Abuelata, guitarist Devin Moreno, bassist Aaron Marquez, and drummer Josh Gardner. The original four members still make up the nucleus of the band, which now includes percussionist Kosuke Okamura. Their songs include overtones of rock, soul, funk, ska, reggae, blues, and Latin/salsa. 

In 2013, Sweet HayaH recorded and released its first full-length album, “Sweet Awakening.” Since that time, the band has been performing non-stop at venues and festivals all over the Bay Area and beyond, growing its fan base.

Sweet HayaH's multi-genre and multi-generational fan base reflects a combination of the musical interests and influences of each band member, who are, together,  a representation of the multicultural Bay Area. Abuelata, who plays keyboards, leads the band with her soulful vocals and infectious ability to engage audiences, to the point where show attendees are a part of each performance. 

Nehal was born in Egypt and moved to France as a child. She and her family then came to the Bay Area, where she attended high school and college. Okamura, the most recent addition to the band, came to the Bay Area from Japan. Moreno, Marques, and Gardner are San Jose-area natives with eclectic musical backgrounds. This is also reflected in their songs, some of which have lyrics in French and Spanish. 

The word "HayaH" derives from the Arabic and Hebrew word meaning “life.” The band aims to stay true to its name and "bring sweetness to the lives of all who get to know the band." Audience members often find themselves on their feet, dancing to Sweet HayaH’s tunes that they may be hearing for the first time. 

The first seating at Blue Note is at 7 p.m., followed by a second seating at 8:45 p.m. Each set will last 75 minutes. Show details, including advance ticket purchases, can be found at