A Couple of Duets with Ledward Kaapana

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.

I set up the cameras and shot a bit of video during a couple of recent visits. The first is almost cheating, Led and I have actually practiced this tune together. Well, actually it’s been more like Ledward showing me how he navigates through the tune and me trying to keep up, but this one is a bit more polished than some of our duets because we know in advance where we are going to wind up. It’s a sweet number called Waimea Lullaby, composed by Patrick Downes and recorded by Frank Delima, winner of the Na Hoku Hanohano Song of the Year in 1980. Ledward included his version on the 2005 “yellow CD,” a now out of print classic called Ki Ho`alu – Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. Whenever Led played this tune I fell all over myself trying to follow until he had mercy on me and showed me the chord changes and melody as he had arranged them. We wound up playing this together on our recent tour.

This next tune is one that I’ve been working on for a couple of years, Aloha Kaua`i by Auntie Maiki Aiu (Lake). I learned my version from Mike Kaawa’s recording and it has become one of my favorites. Naturally it’s even better with Led Kaapana adding his stuff:

I can’t get enough of the jazzy chord sound Led brings to this piece. In several places he’s getting a steel guitar vibe by shaking the strings, other places he sounds like a swing guitarist tickling the changes.

Hope you enjoy these duets!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 7:44 pm and is filed under Videos. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • Slack Key in the Guest Room - "Beautiful Kaua`i"
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    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.