Hai Muradian moved with his family from Chicago to Southern California in 1957, where they settled in Covina. While growing up, there was always music being played in his home. Hai’s uncle was a member of the famous harmonica-based trio, The Harmonicats and his father exposed him to a wide variety of music, giving young Hai a solid and well-rounded musical base. At age 17, Hai played in his first rock band at the Claremont Youth Center. Fast-forward to present day and Hai has now performed well over 1000 gigs in Claremont with a variety of groups.
Hai has always been actively involved in music. Although he recently retired, he has long had his hand on the pulse of the music industry working as a salesman for a large manufacturer/distributor of musical equipment, all the while playing and recording his own music in multiple settings. Hai recently completed an original, 17-song CD with longtime co-writer and friend, Devin Thomas, under the name The Nervous Rooks.
Hai has most notably been with The Ravelers for the past 30 years, who were voted “Best Band in Claremont” in 2014 and 2016 by the readers of the Claremont Courier. Modestly, Hai states, “I wouldn’t say we were the best band, but it does show that after all these years, we are very well-liked by the Claremont community.”
Hai is associated with his musical wife of 35 years, Leslie, (of Swing 4 Sale), his stepsister, Joy McAllister, (of Sugar Mountain Mama Serenade), David “Pope” Firman, and The Happy Crowd with Martie Echito (of The Ravelers). Concurrent with The Ravelers and The Happy Crowd, Hai has also been playing with Michael Ryan and Ken Soderland for over 15 years, and 5 years ago, Hai, Martie and fellow Raveler, Pat Naish, started a new acoustic project called Dynamite Dawson. The three of them and four other of their closest friends started yet another group called The Fab 8 paying homage to The Beatles.
Concluding with a quote, Hai states, “I’ve done so many gigs in Claremont, [concerts] for thousands of people, including over twenty-five Monday night summer concerts and probably near that in Fourth of July shows. About 3 years ago at a fireworks show the mayor came on stage while we were playing and proclaimed that I had been made an honorary citizen of Claremont. It may have just been his doing but it meant a lot to me. It gave me roots in a city that has given me so much in my musical career.”
Photography by Althea Sachs