Llamedo Balances Music, Coaching Surfrider Basketball

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mandy Llamedo admitted that she sounds a bit different when coaching her Kailua High girls varsity basketball team.

This was confirmed recently when a Kailua player saw her coach sing at an event. “She told, me, ‘Coach, I didn’t know you had such a sweet voice because you’re always yelling at us.’ It is a different side of me when I’m in the music environment. (When coaching) I’m usually strict.”

Llamedo has found her lifelong association with music to be a good balance to the rigors of coaching. She and sisters Annie and Joni were around music most of their childhood, through their parents’ (Aniceto and Mary Ann) connection to church.

“We started singing when I was 7, and eventually we started playing instruments,” said Llamedo, who went to Hawaii Pacific University on a music scholarship in addition to walking onto the basketball team. “From there, we branched out. Drums are my main instrument.”

Among her regular venues are Mai Tai Bar and Hawaiian Brian’s. This Friday, she’ll perform at the Korner Room alongside Ilona Irvine as part of the “Heineken Hot Hawaiian Nights” series, which airs at 8 p.m. on KFVE.

On the basketball court, meanwhile, Llamedo is in the midst of a solid run with the Surfriders, having taken them to back-to-back state tournaments in her first two years as a head coach. She recently took some time away from practice and music rehearsals to visit with MidWeek‘s Windward Islander.

What is your earliest sports-related memory? My parents started us in a lot of activities, and volleyball was my first sport when I was 7. Once I started playing basketball that same year, it was all I wanted to do.

Who has had the biggest impact on your life? My parents. They were very family-oriented. We spent a lot of time with them between sports and church. They just wanted us always to be involved so that we stayed on a good path. They never let us quit anything. My sisters and I once designed a plan to quit playing piano. We were just going to stop practicing and I told her it was a waste of her money. She wasn’t happy.

What’s the most challenging aspect of coaching today? Going from an assistant to a head coach. It was the other stuff that goes with it (the on-court instruction) — like administrative duties. That was a headache. As an assistant, you just had to worry about the ‘skills’ part.

When you have free time, how do you spend it? Music and basketball definitely take up most of my time. I love to go to the beach, and I love to play billiards.

What film could you watch over and over? Love and Basketball.

What is your least favorite household chore? Doing the dishes.

You’re stuck on an island and can have just one food. What would it be? Sushi.

Who are three of your favorite musical artists? Earth Wind and Fire, Bruno (Mars) and my little sister (Joni) — she writes a lot of her own music.

What is your favorite spot on Oahu? Ala Moana Beach.

Who would be your choice for a celebrity date on a Saturday night? (Actor) Chris Evans from Fantastic Four.