The Acoustic Guitar Showcase on Superbowl Sunday drew a nice crowd to the Mission City Coffee Company. It’s always a pleasure playing alongside Doug Young and his guests are always compelling players. Mark Goldenberg has such a command of his instrument that every note contributed to the story.
I had some slight technical difficulties that made me glad I’d brought two guitars. And once again I made a bad choice of settings on my audio recorder, but this time I turned the gain too low and cut off the input completely. What a klutz, take 2.
Happily the sound of the PA in the room was quite respectable thanks to our system operator and also due to the attentive audience. And the audio on the Panasonic Lumix GH2 is not entirely terrible, so I have a couple of clips to post. These are both songs I’ve posted before, but the versions are somewhat different.
I’ve been doing my “Honolulu Medley” combining He Aloha No O Honolulu and Honolulu, I’m Coming Back Again for a few years now, and occasionally I’ll do the second song as a vocal. In this clip I captured that vocal on video for the first time, so it’s something of a debut for me.
Maori Brown Eyes is a classic Hawaiian song and one that was made into a slack key standard by Leonard Kwan. It’s one of my favorites and its rollicking nature seems to go over well with audiences too.
Uncle Sonny Chillingworth was one amazing artist. You can read his bio here at Dancing Cat Records. His Moe Uhane (Dream Slack Key) is a requirement for us mainland slack key players trying to find our way into the style. His Weeha Swing is a mark of prowess for those who can accomplish it – a challenge I have yet to take up. But I’ve been influenced hugely by Uncle Sonny, and I hope to continue to steal from him in the future!
Doug Young is a man of many facets indeed. He’s retired from a career in high tech, before that he left behind a career as a cover band musician. These days he writes books and magazine articles on playing and recording guitar, he produces CDs of his own compositions and arrangements, engineers recordings for other players, and hosts a monthly Acoustic Guitar Showcase. As I mentioned in my last update, I’ll be performing with him at his next showcase event.
Stageit describes their webcasting service as being aimed at providing a backstage or casual encounter between artists and their audiences while expanding the range of venues available for producing shows. Doug hosts his show at his home with his lovely wife Teri engineering. His first show featured fingerstyle composer and performer Larry Pattis. One of the little wrinkles that sets Stageit apart – no archive of the performance. So it’s a return to live performance before the era of nearly universal video and audio recording.
In order to facilitate micropayments, Stageit has created their own currency, which they call notes. In order to keep transaction fees reasonable, they sell notes in minimum orders of $5.00 for 50 notes. This is more than enough for a ticket to our show, which Doug has priced at “pay what you can” – I think the minimum payment is actually one note, or $.10 US.
Clearly this is still an experiment, but I think it will be an enjoyable one. I hope you can join us.
Am I identifying myself as an odd duck by admitting that I have very little interest in football (or baseball or basketball) and basically ignore the Superbowl except to enjoy a day free of traffic? Perhaps I’m not the only one who thinks an evening of acoustic guitar music is preferable to watching a bunch of guys beat each other up in between multi-million dollar commercials.
Doug hosts this showcase on the first Sunday of each month and has two guests join him for an evening of acoustic guitar in a round robin format. I’ve been a big fan of Doug’s music since I met him in a guitar shop years ago. I’ve played a few of his showcase events and always had a fine time. This upcoming show will feature Mark Goldenberg playing with us. Between Mark’s abstract compositions, Doug’s explorations of Americana and pop, and my Hawaiian slack key, we should have something for every musical taste, well, except for heavy metal and rap, I guess. The show starts at 7 pm, food and coffee are available, please join us.
We’re back in Walnut Creek for a while, going through the mail, calling up friends, stocking the fridge. It’s a mild climate here in Northern California but it seems pretty darned cold compared to Kailua.
That lovely climate makes the outdoors as pleasant and comfortable as the indoors, maybe more pleasant a lot of the time. So the garage or carport or lanai becomes the social center of the house, the rec room, the TV room, the music room. No room for cars, of course, but no matter.
I’ve spent some of my happiest hours hanging with Ledward Kaapana in his garage, playing and learning and listening to stories. I finally took the time to hook up cameras and an audio recorder to capture some of the fun.
The piece we’re playing, Kolomona Slack Key, was composed by Ledward’s brother, Nedward Kaapana, as a gift for a friend. But it has become a gift to the whole world through the playing of both the brothers.
One of our favorite places to enjoy Hawaiian music is the modern day Honey’s at the Ko`olau golf course in Kane`ohe. It’s an awe inspiring setting with a warm audience and the wonderful music of the Hawaiian Boy Crew, consisting of Hawaiian Boy Mike Ka`awa, steel player and vocalist Paul Kim, and bassist/vocalist Analu Aina, and often including multi-instrumentalist Ocean Kaowili. These musicians are masters and they cover the spectrum from ancient chants to their own original Hawaiian compositions.
Here’s Mike singing an old favorite of mine, Green Rose Hula:
Paul Kim is one of my favorite steel guitar players and his bone dry humor adds a lot to the Honey’s experience, but his falsetto vocals are the icing on the cake, the sweet tones seem to float out of him. Here’s his version of Nani Helena:
Another reason we always include Honey’s at Ko`olau on our music adventures is the range of guest artists who add to the show. Lots of performers live on the windward side and stop in to share their talent. We knew Danny Lopes for his friendly welcome and great stories before we learned that he was the composer of an island classic, A Part of Me, A Part of You (The Hospital Song). Here he joins the crew to do his number, followed by a medley of old swing tunes:
My apologies for the audio distortion, I did a terrible of setting the levels on my recorder. But I thought it was worth putting up with the grit to hear these great performances.
The first video on the new Kaleponi is a New Year wish to you all. I hope you get to spend plenty of time enjoying Hawai`i, Hawaiian music, and slack key guitar in 2012.
We’ve begun a family tradition of a holiday video, and the last couple of years we’ve managed to get to Kailua during December and January, so our greeting has had plenty of island flavor. This year when I started fooling around with my slack key tunings I found a few different traditional Christmas songs that worked well. I wound up with drop C tuning and “Let It Snow” as my project.
These little projects tend to take on a life of their own, with inspiration coming from all directions. This year I found myself watching blizzards and frozen scenes on YouTube while thinking of how lucky we are to be in the tropics, so I sent messages to a few of the YouTubers with those chilly videos and asked to borrow some snowy scenes. These wound up in my video as a contrast to shots of the beach, the palms, the Ko`olau, and our time with friends.
All this contrast got me thinking about some new lyrics for “Let It Snow” but I’m still not willing to share my singing abilities with the world at large. Instead I added the lyrics as titles to the video, so you can sing along in your head.
So here’s our holiday greeting and best wishes for the New Year:
I’ve been really lazy about updating Kaleponi.com lately, I’m embarrassed to say. Been having fun with video cameras and guitars, traveling around on various adventures, and failing to keep the site updated with the news and the clips.
My excuse has been that I’m determined to change Kaleponi.com to a WordPress blog engine but I’ve been too lazy to do the work. Now that I’m in beautiful Kailua for a few weeks I’m hanging out on the computer and building the new site. Lynnie thinks I’m weird and I have a hard time disagreeing. But regardless of the poor use of tropical time, I’m making some progress and the new structure will make updating easier.
This is likely to be a work in progress for a while as I figure out how to integrate the old website with the new one without breaking existing links. In the meantime, this post will serve as a gateway to the old pages.