Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Slack Key Celebration of the `Ilima

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

Ledward and Mike for Mele Mei

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

Slack Key Duet – Which One is the Evil Twin?

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

Steel Guitar and Slack Key from Kailua

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

Slack Key from Makapu`u – Waimanalo Blues

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…)


Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Slack Key from Ka `Elepulu

We found a new spot for our stay in Hawai`i and our time there was enchanting. So appropriate because the name of the subdivision is Enchanted Lake, the haole name given to Ka `Elepulu, the Moist Blackness, as the Hawaiians called this once productive wetlands and pond. Our hosts are situated on the stream that connects the pond to the ocean, on those brief occasions when the mouth down at Kailua Beach Park is dredged and the waters of the lake and ocean mingle for a while.

We found our view of the stream to deliver constant delights. Fish splashed and schooled, water birds swam and swooped, paddlers and kayaks and stand up boarders cruised by along with fishing boats and party barges. (more…)


Monday, May 12th, 2014

Impossible Slack Key – Ledward Kaapana at Kona Brewing

Ledward plays a regular gig at the Kona Brewing Company restaurant in Hawai`i Kai. When he’s on the island he’s almost certain to perform at KBC on Sunday from at least 6 PM to at least 8 PM and usually a little extra on both ends. Fans come from all over the state of Hawai`i, the mainland, the whole world to see this master of hawaiian slack key and `ukulele perform. I recorded the show a few weeks ago and caught Led performing magic on the slack key guitar and the `ukulele. (more…)


Monday, May 12th, 2014

Slack Key With Ledward in Hawai`i

Our visits to Hawai`i bring an opportunity to get together with Ledward Kaapana and shoot some videos that feature the local scenery and lifestyle. With our buddy Pat La`a scouting locations and operating one of the cameras I think we’ve done some of my all time favorite clips. (more…)


Monday, January 27th, 2014

“Grandfather’s Clock” Slack Key

Funny how a song comes and goes through our lives. I don’t know when I first heard Grandfather’s Clock but it was a long time ago. I remember when I rediscovered the song, it came back on the Tone Poems CD with David Grisman and Tony Rice, a CD enjoyed for hours.

But the real jolt hit me when I found the song on Leonard Kwan’s Slack Key LP. Although that album was common in Hawai`i it was hard to find in California, and I remember losing out on a number of Ebay auctions before finally winning a scratched and worn copy of the record for over $30. Still I felt like I had gotten my money’s worth when I heard a slack key version of Grandfather’s Clock in Leonard’s unique style. After months of work I developed my own arrangement inspired by Uncle Leonard’s and I’ve played it ever since. (more…)


Friday, January 10th, 2014

A Love Song to an Island

Auntie Maiki Aiu (Lake) contributed so much through her teaching of hula and culture. She also composed a classic Hawaiian song, Aloha Kaua`i, a love song to an island. I’ve been carrying the tune around in my head for quite a while, probably from hearing Mike Kaawa at Honey’s in Kane`ohe. I even used the opening lines as an intro to my Hanalei Moon video. But as it turned cold here in Walnut Creek I found myself playing the song often, trying to draw a little warmth from the story of the mokihana, the maile, and the warm friendships found on the Garden Isle. (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.