Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Slack Key in the Guest Room – “Beautiful Kaua`i”

I was taken by surprise when I realized that I haven’t posted a video since we left Hawai`i last year, and now we’re almost ready to go back. So I set up the gear in the guest bedroom to take advantage of the interesting light and the tropical pattern cover on the futon, and played a taropatch slack key version of Beautiful Kaua`i by Randy Farden.

I’m not sure why Kaua`i has so many songs written about it, but many of my favorites refer to the Garden Isle, from Uncle Dennis Kamakahi’s Koke`e to Maiki Lake and her Aloha Kaua`i. Beautiful Kaua`i has a sweet charm and many versions to use for inspiration.

It may be a while before we visit Kaua`i again, but I’m sure I’ll keep learning and playing songs about the island and its people.


Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Led Kaapana Is Back – and He Has a New CD

It’s cold here in Northern California but it’s about to get warmer at our house. Led Kaapana is featured at the annual Southern California Slack Key Festival along with a roster of great artists, then he heads to Walnut Creek to begin a NorCal tour to celebrate the release of his new CD, a solo `ukulele extravaganza titled Jus’ Press Vol. 2. I’ll be opening at these shows and hope you’ll be able to join us for some big Hawaiian music fun.

Thursday, Jan 19 – 6:30PM
Sacramento, CA

Saturday, Jan 21 – 7:30PM
The Cue
Concord, CA

Wednesday, Jan 25 – 7:00PM
Kuumbwa Jazz Hall
Santa Cruz, CA

Saturday, Jan 28 – 7:00PM
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
San Luis Obispo, CA

Friday, Feb 3 – 8:00PM
Martinez, CA

Saturday, Feb 4 – 7:30PM
Pacifica Performances
Pacifica, CA

Friday, Feb 10 – 7:30PM
The Old Steeple
Ferndale, CA

We’ve been enjoying our preview copy of this new CD and it’s a treasure. Led pulls so much music out of his custom `ukulele you need to see it to believe it. I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to see a master at work.


Sunday, July 10th, 2016

What Happens at the Lake …

Our stay here on Enchanted Lake is coming near its end, and those last couple of weeks tend to get very busy, so this may be the last bit of video from Ka `Elepulu this year. (more…)


Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Sweet Spots in Kailua, O`ahu

Lynn has always been our travel manager, choosing the destinations, getting the best deals on flights, and finding places to stay. She has found us some wonderful residences over the years and she just keeps getting better. (more…)


Thursday, March 31st, 2016

An Easter Sunday on Kailua Beach

We’ve been visiting Kailua for quite a few years now and we’ve made some wonderful friends. This year some of those friends invited us to a celebration of Easter Sunday at Kailua Beach, and it turned out to be one of those special days. Local folks are known for their hospitality and it was certainly on display this day. Combined with the dramatic scenery and perfect weather, this one will be hard to top. (more…)


Monday, February 15th, 2016

“Pau Hana Slack Key” from Ferndale, CA

Led Kaapana and I were invited to perform at the Old Steeple, a new venue in the charming Victorian town of Ferndale, CA. The trip up Highway 101 took us through the restaurant wonderland of Healdsburg where we had a delightful lunch break. As we continued north the scenery just got more and more dramatic, and when we turned off to head to Ferndale we could see from the coastal mist that the Pacific was not far away. (more…)


Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Slack Key in Ferndale, CA – February 12, 2016

We’re hitting the road tomorrow, headed up 101 to the Victorian village of Ferndale, CA. We’ve been invited by the folks at The Ferndale Music Company to perform at The Old Steeple venue. Check out some of the other performers on their calendar! Little Ferndale gets some top flight talent.

We’re looking forward to a great road trip, see some new sights, try new restaurants, maybe find some trails since some members of our group have turned into compulsive walkers.

If you’re in the neighborhood I hope you’ll join us for the show.


Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Ledward Kaapana Covers the Mainland

For those of us putting up with freezing rain, blizzards, and big heating bills it might seem a little silly to leave Hawai`i to tour around the mainland, but Ledward Kaapana is determined to share his slack key, `ukulele, and singing talent with us once again and I for one sure do appreciate it.

He starts with the 9th annual Southern California Slack Key Festival on Sunday, January 17, where he performs with Cyril Pahinui, John Keawe, Kawika Kahiapo, Jeff Peterson, Jim West, Patrick Landeza, Napua Greig, Mike Kaawa, nathan Nahinu, Peter Moon Jr., and Jeff Au Hoy.

Next he’ll head to Northern California for a visit to Walnut Creek where we’ll visit local restaurants, play lots of music around the house, and play a few gigs. I’ll be opening at these shows:

Friday, January 22
The Cue
Concord, CA
7:30 PM

Saturday, January 23
St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church
Los Osos, CA
7:00 PM
If you don’t have tickets for this one you may be out of luck, though, I hear they’re sold out.

Thursday, January 29
Sacramento, CA
7:00 PM

On Wednesday, February 3, Led will appear with Kupaoa and Patrick Landeza at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Then he’ll join George Kahumoku and Jeff Peterson for an extensive tour around the US, extending through the middle of March and including visits to Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Arizona before heading back to California. Check the tour schedule at George’s website for details.


Monday, December 14th, 2015

Mike Kaawa in Walnut Creek

Mike and Malissa Kaawa favored us with a visit this past week, they were on a hunt for In and Out Burger and a visit to Tomi in Concord. But you know Mike brought one of his trademark 12 string Ovation guitars, and he spent at least a little time on every single guitar, `ukulele, and bass in the house. And he brought out his producer/arranger side to help me get some audio and video recordings with a new flavor. In other words, we had a blast. (more…)


Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Tiple and Slack Key – Duets with Ledward Kaapana

The Martin tiple is an unusual instrument, but one that turns up in some surprising places. In addition to blues and vaudeville, the tiple made its way into Hawaiian music. Ledward Kaapana tells me that one of his aunties used a tiple as her instrument at their legendary Kalapana parties. My Wai`ehu Sons album has a cover picture of Sheldon Brown with his tiple and the sound is prominent on the recording. And Ry Cooder used the tiple as his instrument when he recorded with the Gabby Pahinui Band.

I found a tiple on Ebay and got Led to play it, but at the time it had terrible action, almost no saddle, and worn out frets. Since then I had the instrument rebuilt with a neck reset, new frets, and a new saddle, and the result was lovely. And Led has been having a lot of fun working up different approaches to the tiple, using his virtuoso knowledge of the `ukulele and his deep musicality to pull out some wonderful arrangements. (more…)


I have recorded a CD called Kaleponi, all solo acoustic slack key instrumentals, mostly traditional pieces, a few originals.


You an buy a copy of the CD or download the tracks at CD Baby.

If you prefer, you can download individual tracks or the whole album from iTunes as well.

The complete liner notes and back cover notes of Kaleponi are available here.