Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
The first time I saw Kimo Hussey perform was at the ampitheatre space at Ward Warehouse in Honolulu, where he conducted a kanikapila based on the He Mele Aloha songbook. I was just beginning my exposure to Hawaiian music and I still remember his wonderful performance of his jazzy `ukulele instrumental of A `Oia. It turned out that Kimo had been part of the team that published He Mele Aloha and John Almeida’s A `Oia was the very first song in the book. I remember gazing at the parade of chords that accompanied the song and feeling sure that I would never find them all on the slack key guitar. (more…)
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
One of the best things about being home in Walnut Creek is having our friends visit. Whether it’s hula practice or a kanikapila, maybe putting on a dinner or having some kind of party. And of course some of our favorite friends visit us from Hawai`i. It’s an honor to host Ledward Kaapana and Sharon when they’re visiting Northern California.
Ledward is touring with George Kahumoku and Richard Ho`opi`i and some of their gigs bring them close to our neighborhood. And on some of those occasions we got a visit from Led and Sharon. And of course on those visits Led and I wind up playing slack key together. Led enjoys sampling my guitar collection and I get a real charge out of hearing my instruments played by the master. (more…)
Friday, July 25th, 2014
I was contacted via the contact form on this website by Mr. Roy Presley, who purchased one of my CDs at the recent benefit concert in Palo Alto where I performed with Led Kaapana. Mr. Presley reported that the CD would not play successfully and requested a replacement, which I am happy to provide.
Unfortunately the message that came to me does not include a valid email address or other contact information, so I am unable to respond to Mr. Presley. Roy, if you are reading this, or if anyone knows Roy Presley residing presumably on the SF Peninsula or nearby, please try again to get in touch. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience and would appreciate any assistance in resolving this.
Saturday, June 21st, 2014
We’ve made a lot of great friends in Hawai`i and we get together regularly for garage-style parties. But for a special occasion the only place for a party is the beach! And not just any beach but the queen of soft surf and powdery sand, Kailua Beach. With tents and ironwood trees for shade, plenty of kids running around and every kind of delightful food, all we needed was a couple of guitars to get us through the day with some sweet slack key sounds. (more…)
Sunday, June 8th, 2014
OK, I am one lucky guy, and believe me I’m grateful for all the good fortune that comes my way. I have a lovely and supportive wife, lots of terrific friends, and plenty of sweet guitars. But my feeling of of good luck really overflows when I get a chance to go on tour with the ever amazing Mr. Ledward Kaapana. I get a chance to share my love of Hawaiian music with friends around Northern California and I get one of the best seats in the house for Ledward’s performances. I hope we’re playing somewhere that’s convenient for you and that you’ll join us for some good old slack key style.
- Friday, June 27 – Throckmorton Theater, Mill Valley – 8 PM
- Saturday, June 28 – Mildred Owen Concert Hall (former Sanchez Hall), Pacifica – 7:30 PM
- Sunday, June 29 – Benefit-One World Children’s Fund, Unity Church, Palo Alto – 4 PM
- Wednesday, July 2 – Don Quixote’s Internations Music Hall, Felton – 7:30 PM
- Sunday, July 6 – McNear’s Mystic Theatre, Petaluma – 7:30 PM
- Wednesday, July 9 – Armando’s, Martinez – 8 PM
- Thursday, July 10 – Palms Playhouse, Winters – 8 PM
- Friday, July 11 – World Fest, Grass Valley – 11:30 AM & 3 PM
We’ll have an extra special guest with us at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, the charming and talented Faith Ako and her trio will add their talents to the bill.
In addition to these shows Ledward will hold a workshop at the legendary Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto on Saturday, July 5 at 11 AM and I’ll tag along to help in any way I can. This is a great opportunity for folks looking to learn slack key from a master, taught in the old Hawaiian way.
Sunday, June 8th, 2014
One of my favorite places in Kailua is Na Pohaku o Hauwahine, an area rich in myth and history, a state park preserve, and a vegetation restoration project area. I’ve visited often, even shot a video there some years ago. This time I went to celebrate the `ilima, flower of `Oahu, with a song about the blossom and the children of the island, Na Pua Lei `Ilima. (more…)
Sunday, June 8th, 2014
Mele Mei is an annual event that celebrates Hawaiian music, hula, and culture with a whirlwind of events across the state. Several hotels host performances and one of our favorite spots, the House Without a Key at the gorgeous Halekulani Hotel, presented Ledward Kaapana and Mike Kaawa in a lunch time show on May 25. I managed to set one of my cameras in a good position to catch some of the action and was rewarded with a couple of sweet clips. (more…)
Thursday, May 29th, 2014
I visit the Acoustic Guitar Forum regularly to keep up on the latest news and gadgets and to enjoy the performances posted there. The forum is full of talented players in a wide variety of styles and has an active section of folks showing their stuff. Lately one of the posters started a thread asking for music from movies and TV shows, so I immediately thought of The Descendants and the slack key tunes they chose. I found a gorgeous self-duet version of `Imi Au Ia `Oe by Keola Beamer and set out to come up with my own arrangement. (more…)
Saturday, May 24th, 2014
The history of steel guitar as I understand it goes back to Joseph Kekuku, a slack key guitarist who picked up a metal bolt and used it to stop the strings in lieu of pressing the strings to the fretboard. This new technique allowed a very pronounced and vocal vibrato along with smooth transitions from note to note, and the kika kila or steel guitar became one of the most recognized voices in Hawaiian music. (more…)
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
One of the most gorgeous locations in a beautiful place, Makapu`u is the eastern most point of O`ahu. A lighthouse stands high up the mountainside, with a popular trail leading from the Kalanianaole Highway to the summit. On the northern side at the foot of the cliff is a popular surfing beach and the lovely expanse of Makapu`u Beach Park. With Pat La`a and Ledward Kaapana, we set up cameras and guitars on the rocks above the beach and recorded a few songs with this magnificent scenery in the background. (more…)