Defining the Undefinable

Each time the issue of defining slack key is addressed by either a specific artist or some governing body of musical societies, I find the divisiveness of these definitions and categories on the one hand interesting, but also unfortunate on the other. I do see it as a basic human trait to try and classify things into... Continue Reading →

Another One Leaves Us Too Soon

I only met Chino once, but he left a lasting impression on me. A few years back I went by the Kahilu Theatre to check out the free show during the Slack Key and Ukulele Institute series. I had seen the name "Chino Montero" on the bill, but wasn't familiar with him or his music. What I saw that night blew me away. The way he shredded on the guitar in such a relaxed and humble manner was shocking to my eyes and ears. The way he tastefully and artfully completely ran circles around the melody put me in awe....

Jus’ Cruzin’ With Uncle Led

One of the most innovative and accomplished musicians in Hawaiian music history is Ledward Ka`apana. Starting with the group Hui Ohana in 1972, Uncle Led set a new standard for what sounds were possible within the realm of Hawaiian music. His electric guitar playing with added reverb was new and exciting. He was never afraid to push the boundaries, or HO`ANALU, of what was being done with slack key guitar....

A Painting of Eddie Kamae Takes Me Back

I humbly believe that the greatest ukulele player ever was Eddie Kamae. He recorded what I find to be the best ukulele album in existence "Heart of the Ukulele" in 1962. I was very blessed to have the opportunity to share the stage with and play with Eddie Kamae when I played ukulele for Bruddah Smitty.

Kou Aloha Mau A Mau

The palaka print is for the Reverend Dennis Kamakahi, who joined the Sons of Hawaii in 1973 replacing Gabby Pahinui. He played with the Sons until 1995 and for a time with my mentor Uncle Braddah Smitty. Uncle Eddie supported Dennis' song writing and encouraged him to blaze his own path and put his own stamp on the group. He wrote such beautiful and classic numbers as Wahine Ilikea, Pua Hone, Koke`e, Ka `Opae, Sweet By and By, Aloha Mau A Mau, Golden Stallion, Kanaka Waiolina, Honeymoon Hotel, E Hihiwai, Hualalai, and on and on and on...

HO`ANALU….to go beyond known boundaries

On June 9th, 2012 I was standing deep in the jungle on the eastern end of Hawai`i Island. In the silence of the moment I looked up and saw a falling star streak across the sky. In the still of one of the remotest places in the world, where I had not heard a sound for hours, in the distance a dog barked. I knew my friend had arrived safely on the other side.

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