Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Finding Ozzie Kotani‘s book, Guitar Playing Hawaiian Style, in the old Kihei Disc record store was the key to my learning slack key. Ozzie is a remarkably adept teacher, and his book showed me the baby steps needed to begin my journey. Along with these fine grained details he included wonderful arrangements and compositions, charming pieces of music that entranced while they taught. His songs were so much fun they made me practice harder so I could get to the next piece. (more…)
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
I’m sure I’ve mentioned that my lovely wife Lynn took up hula when we retired a few years ago. It’s been a central part of our life since then, bringing us a whole new world of friends, interests, and experiences. Hula has added to our enjoyment of trips to Hawai`i and to my enjoyment of slack key guitar as well.
One of the high points of my week is the hula practice we host, when the house is filled with charming dancers, their hands flowing through the story they’re dancing. The other day I set out to shoot a video and when I realized it was hula practice day I decided to play R. Alex Anderson’s classic Lovely Hula Hands. Then happily I managed to capture a bit of the hula practice to add to my video. (more…)
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
Since Lynn remodeled the backyard so beautifully I’ve been charmed by the waving reeds she planted. I’ve been looking for the right angle, right light, right song to do a video featuring the swaying of those stalks. It’s been a pretty chilly winter so outdoor video opportunities have been slim, but we had a few nice days while Ledward was staying with us and we set up to see if we could capture the dancing reeds along with the cute little Tacoma Papoose guitar. I brought out my Composite Acoustics OX that I keep tuned low and it matched up perfectly with the Bflat tuning Ledward chose for the Papoose. (more…)
Sunday, February 17th, 2013
The hillsides around us are dotted with magnificent trees we call “live oaks” because they maintain their foliage in the winter. One particularly impressive example sits in a meadow adjacent to Acalanes Ridge, the highest peak in our immediate neighborhood. The East Bay Regional Park District maintains a trail between the Briones Reservoir and Mt. Diablo that takes us up to the ridge and the majestic oak tree. Ledward and I have been hiking along the trail and scouting locations for a video, so when we reached the meadow and the live oak we knew we had found our spot. (more…)
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Lei Collins and Maddy Lam composed one of my favorite Hawaiian songs, Ke Aloha. It’s a love song written to one whose fragrance is alluring in the evening time. The melody is irresistible ear candy, and it flows so nicely in taropatch open G tuning. Patrick Landeza taught the song at one of his workshops long ago and I’ve played it ever since. (more…)
Saturday, February 9th, 2013
We’ve been staying pretty busy playing shows and jamming so it took a while to get Ledward up to Digital Duck Studio for a recording and video session. I was especially anxious to capture some of his playing on my recently acquired 1949 Martin T-18 Tiple. This unusual instrument is tuned like an `ukulele but has ten metal strings arranged in four courses. It’s quite a challenge to play well, but I knew Ledward would be the guy for the job.
We’ve been jamming a lot on Lili`u E lately, and I really like what Ledward came up with on the tiple for this one. (more…)
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
I feel pretty silly complaining about the weather, because I know plenty of folks have it a lot worse than we do here in Northern California but this has been our first Christmas and New Year at home in several years, and it has seemed unrelentingly chilly.
Things are looking up, though, even if the thermometer stays on the cool side. In just a few weeks we’ll be getting a visit from the inimitable Mr. Ledward Kaapana and I’m sure he’ll be bringing some warm island feelings along.
In case you’re just tuning in I should mention that Ledward has been a major force in Hawaiian music for over forty years, won numerous Na Hoku awards, been featured on three Grammy winning CDs and had two of his own CDs nominated. His most recent recognition came in the form of a National Heritage Award in 2011.
Ledward is featured in a newly released DVD which he’ll have available for sale on this tour. I’ll be opening the shows around the area, I hope you’ll have an opportunity to join us.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
It all started innocently enough, Lynn suggested heading down to the Kailua Beach for a splash. I grabbed the GoPro, mounted on a little Gorillapod, just to goof around. I captured a “going out” shot, some “out here” shots, and a “coming in” shot. We had a great time bobbing in the refreshing water, watched a few kiters, then headed home.
Once I got the clips loaded Lynn asked for something to share with our buddies back home. Once I started combing through them I decided we should add a little background music, so I cranked up my new default recording rig. I’m going direct from the pickup through an effects box into an audio recorder, instead of trying to mic the acoustic sound of the guitar. The first “sea” song I thought of was Kai Hanupanupa, the Emerson Brothers tune we saw in this video from our Walnut Creek kanikapila. (more…)
Friday, October 19th, 2012
It’s wonderful to be back in Kailua visiting friends and enjoying the exquisite fall weather, warm sun shining and trade winds blowing sweetly. I’ve been strolling around the neighborhood looking for a spot to shoot a video, and when I got to the rise leading into Lanikai I knew I had my location. The view across Kailua Bay from there is inspiring.
I’ve been playing Queen Lili`uokalani’s Ahe Lau Makani for a while now, enjoying the lilting melody of this charming waltz. A song about Hawai`i’s breezes seemed perfect for the location. (more…)
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
It’s been a while since I’ve added any new music here at Kaleponi.com, but I haven’t misplaced my guitar or had any mishap. I maintain another web site that usually focuses on the techie side of things like video cameras, microphones, and guitar accessories. But of course whenever I play music on that channel it’s slack key, and every now and then I do a complete piece that might fit in here. (more…)