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Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info

Mark Cohen 11 Dec 01 - 10:06 PM
Rick Fielding 12 Dec 01 - 12:41 AM
Mark Cohen 12 Dec 01 - 02:36 AM
Steve Parkes 12 Dec 01 - 03:36 AM
M.Ted 12 Dec 01 - 08:42 AM
Jeri 12 Dec 01 - 08:50 AM
Allan C. 12 Dec 01 - 09:00 AM
marty D 13 Dec 01 - 12:56 AM
katlaughing 13 Dec 01 - 01:27 AM
M.Ted 13 Dec 01 - 02:35 PM
Arbuthnot 13 Dec 01 - 05:56 PM
M.Ted 13 Dec 01 - 09:51 PM
open mike 08 Jan 07 - 03:58 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 07 - 08:51 PM
Chris in Portland 08 Jan 07 - 09:15 PM
Rapparee 08 Jan 07 - 09:22 PM
Darowyn 09 Jan 07 - 06:23 AM
katlaughing 01 Feb 10 - 04:26 PM
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Subject: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 10:06 PM

I've had some people ask me for information about slack key guitar. Here are two useful sites. First, an extremely thorough and informative History of Slack Key Guitar from Keola Beamer's website. The other is the slack key discography from Dancing Cat Records. Actually, George Winston's Dancing Cat website has a wealth of information on slack key.

For those who are really motivated, come to the Big Island Slack Key Guitar Festival,which is held here in Hilo on the third Saturday in July. Let me know if you're interested and I can look into getting advance tickets!


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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 12:41 AM

Marvellous Mark. Thank YOU!


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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 02:36 AM

Now if I could just learn to play....

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 03:36 AM

It's rather a long way for me, Mark--maybe you can come to Stony Stratford instead!

My grandfather bought quite a few records in the 30s and 40s of bands like Paul Whiteman and their British counterparts. When I was about nine (c1960) he bought me a wind-up gramophone and gave me the discs (I've still got most of them), and there quite a few of Hawaiian slack key music, notably by Sol Ho'opi'i. I used to love listening to them in those days. As we get older we often out aside those things we used to like as being childish, but I still go through my old discs from time to time and rediscover the old magic. Now they number 500-plus, so it takes a long time to get through them all.


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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 08:42 AM


You are talking about Hawaiian steel guitar, which is different--slack-key guitar is held and fingered like regular guitar, but tuned to an open or modified tuning--it is an older tradition than Hawaiian guitar, but it was not much heard or played away from the Islands---the tradition nearly disappeared, but has been revived over the last ten or fifteen years--it is probably the oldest traditional guitar music in the United States and really worth hearing--

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 08:50 AM

Related thread: Help: Hawaiian Slack-key tuning

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Allan C.
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 09:00 AM

Glad you mentioned George Winston, Mark. Besides his better-known piano artistry (of which I am a true fan,) he is an excellent guitarist - usually incorporating a selection or two into his live performances.

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: marty D
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 12:56 AM

This is great. Not only have I never heard slack-key, but I probably never would have heard OF it were it not for Mudcat.

I think I'd like to try playing something in the style. What's a good tuning to start with?


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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 01:27 AM

Mark, great sites! I highly recommend the Dancing Cat CD, "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (name might be slightly different, can't remember.) I can listen to it, over and over.

I was really fortunate in that my first intro to slack key was at a concert we put on at the Center for the Arts (now defunct) in Rhode Island, "Masters of the Steel String Guitar." The program is packed away, but one of the artists was from Hawaii and played slack key. i was hooked from then on. That same concert included Jerry Douglas on dobro. Oh, wow!

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 02:35 PM

Here is the text from the Dancing Cat site, hope it is not too much of a mess--down in the middle somewhere are details about tunings and playing techniques--better to listen to some of it before trying to play it--


This history is also available in an abridged version in Dancing Cat's Slack Key Information * Introduction * Origins of Slack Key * King Kalakaua & Queen Lili'uokalani * Four slack Key Styles * Slack Key Influences from Outside Hawaii * Gabby Pahinui and the Other Major Slack Key Figures * Slack Key Since 1970 * Dancing Cat Records

Hawaiian slack key guitar (ki ho'alu) is one of the world's great acoustic guitar traditions. However, due to Hawai'i's isolation (the islands lie furthest in the world from any major land masses) ki ho'alu remains one of the least known traditions. Ki ho'alu, which literally means "loosen the key," is the Hawaiian-language name for this unique finger-picked style. The strings (or "keys") are "slacked" to produce many beautiful tunings, almost always based on a major tonality. They often contain a full major chord, a chord with a major 7th note or with a 6th note. Each tuning produces a characteristic resonance behind the melody; and each has its own characteristic color and flavor, like a beautiful basket of fruit.

Many Hawaiian songs and slack key guitar pieces reflect Hawaiian and universal themes: stories of the past, feelings of the present, and aloha for loved ones; the ocean, bays, rivers and waterfalls; the volcanoes, mountains and valleys; the forests, plants and animals of the sky, land and sea; the wind; and the land itself.

Slack key master Ray Kane recalled how his best-known composition, Punahele, which appears on his album of the same name (See PUNAHELE), came to him one night in 1938. "Back in those days there were no cars; it was pitch black. So I sit there in the dark in the nice cool breeze, and I hear waves bouncing on the sand and see the moonlight flicker on the water. It inspired me, something so nice. So mellow."

The great slack key guitarist and composer, Keola Beamer, similarly said, "Wherever we go, my wife and I always pause and listen to the environment; the wind blowing through the hala leaves, the water, the birds. I get a lot of inspiration from those moments." Such a moment inspired his album KOLONAHE Ð FROM THE GENTLE WIND. Beamer recalled, "I was out in a distant valley sitting under some hau trees enjoying the space, the quiet, when all of a sudden, the most beautiful, refreshing breeze came through. It caressed everything in its path: the trees, the grass, the stones. It changed the whole complexion of that day."

And the great composer and slack key guitarist, Dennis Kamakahi, said that as a composer, "Every place you go, you meet new people, see new things and write about what you feel. I've written songs about other places but most of the songs are about the love and beauty of Hawai'i and about special people." These currents run deeply in slack key guitar playing, as accompaniment to vocals, as instrumental compositions or as instrumental interpretations of vocal pieces. Drawn from the heart and soul out through the fingers, slack key music is sweet and soulful.

Slack key's unique sound comes partly from techniques such as the hammer-on, an ornament produced by plucking a note and immediately fretting on that string to produce a second higher tone; and the pull-off, produced by plucking a string and immediately pulling the finger off that string, sounding a second lower note that is either open or fretted by another finger. A great example is Ray Kane's Punahele.

These techniques mimic the yodels and falsettos rooted in ancient chants and common in Hawaiian singing. Also common are harmonics ("chiming"), produced by lightly touching the strings at certain points on the fretboard; and slides, in which one or two treble notes are cleft and then slid (usually up in pitch) to sound another note. A beautiful effect is sometimes created when a guitarist is singing, and the note or notes on the top pitched strings sound like a second voice. This can be heard at the end of Sonny Chillingworth's version of Ka Wai Lehua 'A'ala Ka Honua on his SONNY SOLO recording, and also on George Kahumoku's E Ho'i I Ka Pili. All these enhance the expressions of aloha, joy or longing, sometimes all in the same song.

Like blues guitar, the slack key tradition is very flexible and can have great emotional depth. A guitarist will often play the same song differently each time, sometimes changing tempos, or even tunings. As guitarists learn to play in this very individualistic tradition, they find their own tunings, techniques, arrangements and repertoire.

One of ki ho'alu's three most influential slack key masters (along with the late Philip "Gabby" Pahinui and the late Sonny Chillingworth), the late Leonard Kwan explained his playing style, "I use a lot of variations. They make what you're playing sound more interesting. It's like when you're cooking. When you put the spices in, it tastes better than just cooking plain. The principle is the same in music." Variations, he said, are even more important for an instrumentalist like him. When someone sings, the voice is the center of attention, "but when you play a slack key instrumental, to make it sound full, you have to play the bass, the melody and harmonies, do the picking and keep the rhythm. That's the hard part."

In addition to those variations, ki ho'alu music reflects what emotions the musician has at the moment. Guitarist George Kuo said, "It's a very personal kind of art, and it displays a lot of the person's feelings. You can make it fit to the mood you're in. If you're feeling sad, you can make the notes really linger and cry. And if you're feeling creative, you can really take off. You can speed up the song and make it bouncy, or you can take a bouncy song and make it hypnotic and dreamy."

For Led Kaapana, who seems to have an inexhaustible ability to improvise, the best improvisation is based on two things: the song itself and the mood of the moment, which changes each time you play the song. "Everything you play, every time you play, there's a mood, an energy. If you plug into it, the music just flows. Even in a simple song, there are so many different ways to play the melody, the rhythm, the harmony. It never stops if you stay open to it."

And, in some cases, even the pace can change, notes Led as he looks back on his earlier recordings with the band Hui 'Ohana. "I see now that I speeded up the tempo on some (ki ho'alu songs) for some reason. When I used to play back home on the Big Island, I kept more to the old style, smooth and slow; but in the studio with Hui 'Ohana, I picked up the pace. Maybe it was the fast life of Honolulu."

Cyril Pahinui, another great master of improvisation, said of his father Gabby, "I remember what my daddy used to tell me. 'No get lazy, Son. When you're playing your music, you should always try to find something new to say. If you look, you can always change the melody line a little or add some coloring.' Thanks to my dad, I can always keep adding things, and it's comfortable for me."

Origins of Slack Key

Music is one of the most mobile art forms. Several events led to the import of the guitar to Hawai'i. European sailors around the beginning of the 19th century possibly introduced Hawaiians to the gut string guitar--ancestor of the modern nylon string guitar. Or, the instrument may have made its way to the Islands upon the return of the Hawaiians whom King Kamehameha I had sent in 1818, to Monterey, California, to assist the Argentine Navy.

A gift of cattle from England to Hawai'i in the late 1700s, and a subsequent taboo on harming them resulted in an overpopulation of the steers. King Kamehameha III, around 1832, hired Mexican and Spanish vaqueros, or cowboys, from North America to teach Hawaiians how to handle the growing herds. In the evenings around the campfire, the vaqueros--many of whom worked on the Big Island, especially around the Waimea region--probably played their guitars, often two or more together, with one playing lead melody and the other bass and chords.

This new instrument would have intrigued the Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolo, who had their own music traditions. Given the long work hours, however, the Hawaiians probably did not have time to learn a lot about this new music. When the vaqueros returned to their homelands a few years later, some gave their guitars to the paniolo. The Hawaiians retuned the guitar from the standard Spanish tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E, from the lowest pitched to highest pitched string), usually by loosening, or slacking1, the strings very often to a major chord (such as the popular G Major "Taro Patch" tuning, D-G-D-G-B-D) or to a tuning with a major 7th note in it (called "Wahine" tuning), or, occasionally, a tuning with a major 6th note in it, as well as other tunings. The result was guitar tunings with the open (unfretted) strings having the sweet sound that so characterizes ki ho'alu music.

Geniuses of incorporating new elements, Hawaiians wove what they had learned of Mexican and Spanish music into their traditional chants, songs and rhythms and created a new form of music that was completely their own. Unique Hawaiian musical traditions were the dominant force in this guitar music, as they have always been with the other musical influences that have come from the rest of the world.2 Hawaiian music never stops evolving, and yet it always remains in touch with its deep roots and inspiration. Slack key guitarist James "Bla" Pahinui remembers his father Gabby Pahinui telling him, "Play whatever you feel, whatever makes you happy but always keep Hawaiian music in your heart."

While there are different theories about the beginnings of slack key guitar in the Islands, from the start, slack key guitar became a significant part of the music that the paniolo would play after work or with families and friends at gatherings, and this tradition continues today, especially on the Big Island and Maui.

Many guitarists choose to play just for family and friends rather than playing professionally or recording. George Kuo, reflecting on his slack key mentors, points out, 'Sometimes the older players would lock into a groove [keep the same tempo and feeling] and stay there all night.' This can sometimes be heard in the playing of Ray Kane and Ni'ihau guitarist Malaki Kanahele.

At first there may not have been many guitars or people who knew how to play, so Hawaiians developed a way to get a full sound on one guitar. They picked the bass and rhythm chords on three or four of the lower-pitched strings with the thumb, while using their fingers to play the melody or improvised melodic fills on three or four of the higher-pitched strings.

The gut string guitar introduced by the vaqueros had a very different sound than the steel string guitar, which arrived later, probably brought in by the Portuguese around the 1860s. By the late 1880s, the steel string sound became very popular with the Hawaiians, and slack key had spread to all of the Hawaiian Islands. To this day the steel string guitar predominates, although slack key artists Keola Beamer, Ozzie Kotani, Moses Kahumoku and Bla Pahinui have also prominently used the nylon string guitar.

Until the mid-20th century, vocals were the most important element of Hawaiian music. The guitar was relegated mainly to a backup role, often grouped with other instruments. Played in a natural, finger-picked style with a steady rhythm, guitar was used as an accompaniment to hula and singing. The guitar usually did not play the exact melody of the song but played a repeated fragment with improvised variations, often using ornaments such as the hammer-on, pull-off and harmonics. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, slack key guitarists have increasingly played the instrumental verse between some of the vocal verses, sometimes called the pane, or answer verse, which had previously been played by the steel guitarist.

Since the 1960s, and especially in the 1990s, Hawaiian slack key guitar has evolved into a highly developed instrumental art form, in both solo and group formats. When it is played solo, the beautiful and unique intricacies of the slack key guitar can be most fully appreciated, as the music of each master has great depth and individuality. Two of the most notable examples of this are Sonny Chillingworth and Cyril Pahinui, both of whom used extensive back-up musicians on their past recordings, and whose artistry can now be heard more clearly on their entirely solo Dancing Cat releases. As a matter of fact, when Sonny was recording for Dancing Cat, he would say things like, "Don't you want my boys?" (the band) and "I've never recorded like this!"

For slack key player Ozzie Kotani, who studied with the legendary Sonny Chillingworth and whose original works are conceived as instrumentals, there may be times when words just are not enough. "I listen to many vocalists, but I see myself as mostly an instrumentalist. Words are important to communicate ideas, but you can communicate emotions by playing a certain way. Sometimes it's hard to express something verbally, but music frees you of that."

King Kalakaua & Queen Lili'uokalani

The slack key tradition was given an important boost during the reign of King David Kalakaua, who was responsible for the Hawaiian cultural resurgence of the 1880s and 1890s. King Kalakaua supported the preservation of ancient music, while encouraging the addition of imported instruments like the 'ukulele and guitar. His coronation in 1883 featured the guitar in combination with the ipu (gourd drum) and pahu (skin drum) in a new dance form called hula ku'i. At his Jubilee in 1886, there were performances of ancient chants and hula. This mixing of the old and new contributed to the popularity of both the guitar and 'ukulele.

King Kalakaua's conviction that the revitalization of traditional culture was at the root of the survival of the Hawaiian kingdom became a major factor in the continuity of traditional music and dance. His influence still shows. This was a great period of Hawaiian music and compositions, when traditional music was actively supported by the monarchy. Kalakaua, along with his siblings W.P. Leleiohoku II, Miriam Likelike and especially Lili'uokalani, composed superb songs that are still well-known today. After King Kalakaua passed away in 1891, he was succeeded by his sister, Queen Lili'uokalani, who was Hawai'i's last monarch.

Queen Lili'uokalani is widely considered Hawai'i's greatest songwriter in history. She continued composing even after she was put under house arrest following the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy and up until her death in 1917.

Keola Beamer, who has recorded two of her songs, Pauahi 'O Kalani and Sanoe, which appear on his MOE'UHANE KIKA Ð "TALES FROM THE DREAM GUITAR" album, said of the queen, "She was a very, very special person. She made music of soulful heart and tenderness held in the arms of her own melancholy. She knew in her heart that her kingdom was lost. After all these years, one can still feel her sadness singing in the quiet spaces between the notes."

Among her classic pieces are Aloha 'Oe, Sanoe, Ku'u Pua I Paoakalani, Pauahi 'O Kalani, Ahe Lau Makani, He Inoa No Ka'iulani, Manu Kapalulu, Queen's Jubilee, Queen's Prayer, Ka Hanu O Ka Hana Keoki, Ninipo (Ho'onipo), Tutu, He 'Ai No Kalani, Ka Oiwa Nani and many other beautiful songs. These compositions are still deeply part of Hawai'i's music today.

One of Hawai'i's greatest and most prolific composers, Dennis Kamakahi, has been deeply inspired by Queen Lili'uokalani. He says, "Queen Lili'uokalani and I have one passion, that is, the passion to write what we see and hear around us and transform these images into music. She has been the inspiration for me to write in the most poetical way using the Hawaiian language she knew so well." Kamakahi has himself composed beautiful songs and Hawaiian standards such as Koke'e, Wahine 'Ilikea, Pua Hone, Ke Aloha Mau A Mau, Kaua'i O Mano, Lei Ko'ele, E Hihiwai, E Pupukanioe and Ka 'Opae.

Ki ho'alu player and instructor Ozzie Kotani, who has recorded the quintessential instrumental album of the Queen's music, said of her compositions, "I love the different melodies. They sometimes inspire me to play with strength, sometimes with tenderness Ð never with sadness despite her experiences. . . Because of her classical training and exposure to Western music, the songs are more often 'non-traditional' Ð but I still sense the 'Hawaiian-ness,' her sense of self, her sense of what she wanted to express musically using her musical knowledge but having confidence with who she was."

Four Slack Key Styles

Today there are four basic ways of playing slack key guitar. Some guitarists play more than one style. The first is a simple but profound style, most evident in the older playing styles, such as that of the late Auntie Alice Namakelua. The second is a sort of "slack key jazz," with lots of improvisation, used prominently in the music of Atta Isaacs, Cyril Pahinui, Led Kaapana, Moses Kahumoku, George Kuo, Ozzie Kotani and Peter Moon.

The third type creates a unique sound using ornaments like the hammer-on, the pull-off and harmonics ("chimes," or "bells"). These are often incorporated in the older simple style and the slack key jazz style mentioned before. Some great songs featuring hammer-ons and pull-offs include Sonny Chillingworth's Ho'omalu Slack Key (SONNY SOLO), Ray Kane's Punahele (PUNAHELE), and George Kuo's Kohala Charmarita.

Guitarist Manu Kahaialii uses another technique called "Hei Kuikui" on his song So Ti, in Eddie Kamae's documentary film THE HAWAIIAN WAY, and on Manu's out-of-print album KAAHAIALII MAUI STYLE. In this technique, the left hand holds the chord normally while the right-hand index finger hammers down on the string and pulls off very rapidly, rather than the normal plucking, producing a beautiful and unique sound. (The late George Kahumoku, Sr. called this same technique "Ki Panipani"). There are many songs that use harmonics, such as Leonard Kwan's Ki Ho'alu Chimes (KE'ALA'S MELE), and, again, Ray Kane's Punahele.

The fourth slack key style is performance-oriented and features entertaining visual and sound techniques. These include playing with the forearm, playing with a bag over the fretting hand (performed by the late Fred Punahoa and his nephew Led Kaapana), and the intriguing needle and thread technique, where the player dangles a needle hanging from a thread held between the teeth across the strings while otherwise playing normally; this creates a sound a bit like a mandolin or a hammered dulcimer. It can be heard on the fourth verse of the song, Wai Ulu, on Sonny Chillingworth's recording SONNY SOLO. This technique can also be seen in two great slack key films: Susan Friedman's KI HO'ALU, THAT'S SLACK KEY GUITAR, on the song Kaula 'Ili by Sonny and in Eddie Kamae's THE HAWAIIAN WAY, on an improvised piece by slack key guitarist Fil Secratario.

Slack Key Tunings

In the old days, there was an almost mystical reverence for those who understood ki ho'alu, and the ability to play it was regarded as a special gift. To retain and protect the slack key mystique, tunings were often closely guarded family secrets.

"I'm old enough to remember when we all thought slack key would die," said Keola Beamer. "There were many reasons for that. One of them was that our kupuna [elders] had lost so much: their land, their religious system, their sense of place in the universe. The last thing they wanted to lose was their music, so tunings became very cultish and protected. The irony was that by way of holding the secrets too close, this art form was actually dying, suffocating because the information wasn't being communicated. Maybe there is truth in the saying that one should hold the things that one loves with an open hand."

This practice has changed with the times, as the preservation of older Hawaiian traditions has become more conscious and deliberate. Slack key guitarists are now more willing to share their knowledge with those outside the family circle who sincerely wish to learn. The sharing of tunings and techniques greatly helps ensure that the slack key guitar tradition will endure. Ray Kane said, "Play the best you can and share what you know. If we don't share slack key, we'll lose it. That almost happened once, so watch out. Take care of it."

George Kuo echoed Ray Kane and described this sharing as pana'i like, meaning "to give and take, to reciprocate." He said, "Puakea Nogelmeier [a songwriter and Hawaiian language instructor at the University of Hawai'i] gave me that name as a way of reflecting all the things that Gabby Pahinui, Atta Isaacs, Sonny Chillingworth and other slack key elders shared with our generation when we were growing up so that now we can pass on skills and knowledge to the next generation."

A wide variety of tunings in several different keys were created to effectively back up singers with their various vocal ranges. Strings tuned too low lost their tone; strings tuned too high were likely to break. Thus tunings in six keys were developed. (Early Hawaiians probably did not have guitar capos, a strap or clamp which fits on the guitar neck and raises the pitch, allowing the same guitar fingerings in a higher key.)

The many ingenious tunings the Hawaiians invented fall into five basic categories: Major, Wahine, Mauna Loa, Ni'ihau/Old Mauna Loa and miscellaneous. They re-tuned the guitar (usually lowering some of the strings) from the standard Spanish tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E, from the lowest to the highest-pitched string), and the "slacked" strings resulted in sweet and resonant tunings, such as in the G Major "Taro Patch" Tuning, where the sixth, fifth and first strings are tuned down from standard tuning. Occasionally slack key guitarists will tune up, which in this case would be to tune the fourth, third and second strings up from standard tuning, yielding an A major chord (E-A-E-A-C#-E). The strings are in the same relationship to each other--the one in A is just two half-steps higher than the one in G.

Some of the most commonly used tunings are the Major Tunings, where the guitar is tuned to a major chord or has a major chord within the tuning. Especially popular is the G Major "Taro Patch" Tuning. This was the first tuning that Led Kaapana taught himself. "It's one of the easiest to learn," he said, "because the strings all relate so closely to one another. One finger on the high string is all you need to play a basic melody, or throughout the whole song you can just bar the chords. It sounds pretty full even that way."

Ease, however, does not equate with shallowness, pointed out Ozzie Kotani. "I love the open G or Taro Patch tuning because I find it so versatile. It also lends itself to solid bass patterns and many, many 'traditional' slack key phrasings and vamps . . . While some slack key players don't like playing in G because 'everyone knows that tuning,' I see it as a challenge to my creativity and imagination and know I will never completely tap it dry," he said.

"There's tons of repertoire to open in it. My mentality is to open up in a favored tuning and really become strong in it," Kotani explained. "Sonny [Chillingworth] once told me, 'A good slack key player isn't measured by how many tunings he knows--it's being able to play almost any song in one tuning that's impressive.' Like most teachers, I share Taro Patch first."

George Kuo also utilizes the whole range of Taro Patch Tuning, and he works to retain the sweetness so integral to Hawaiian music. "In Taro Patch you can get a real distinctive bass and play many different melody patterns and rhythms."

Also often used are the Wahine Tunings, which contain a major 7th note. Some musicians say that these tunings are referred to as "Wahine" because of their sweet flavor; others say the tuning got its name in older days when women used to favor it in their playing (wahine is the Hawaiian word for woman). Two of the first Wahine Tunings to be developed may have been the C-G-D-G-B-E and the G-C-D-G-B-E tunings, in which the four highest-pitched strings retain the same tuning as the standard tuning, but the bass notes are retuned to the open strings of the C and G chords. Two other popular tunings in this category are G Wahine (D-G-D-F#-B-D), which is especially Spanish influenced, and C Wahine (C-G-D-G-B-D). Kotani said, "I love the deepness and fullness of C Wahine--beautiful chords, really different vamps from Taro."

Speaking about his album MOE'UHANE KIKA Ð "TALES FROM THE DREAM GUITAR", Keola Beamer said, "In some of these tunings, the vibrating of sympathetic strings creates a beautiful overtone series. The overtone series, of course, has been around since time immemorial but actually embracing it, working with it and within it is something I tried to focus on in this recording. It is probably most apparent," he continued, "when I use the low C Wahine tuning (C-G-D-G-B-E). If you listen carefully, you can hear a high spectral or ghostlike presence. The mysticism and spectral shadowing inherent in this halo, or veil, remind me of what one may experience in a dream."

Also common are the Mauna Loa Tunings, in which the top two pitches are tuned a wide fifth interval apart. In these tunings, what is often played on the first string and the thicker third string in other tunings is instead played on the first string and thinner second string, producing the characteristic sweet sound of Mauna Loa Tunings. "C Mauna Loa has nice high movements on the first and second strings that really separate the melody from the bass line," said Ozzie Kotani. "You can also play a melody down near the first fret and then play a great contrasting melody up to the 8th fret and above. I need to play more in this tuning since it has such great inherent possibilities."

In his vocal introduction to Mauna Loa Blues, which appears on his ALOHA NO NA KUPUNA Ð "LOVE FOR THE ELDERS" album, George Kuo said, "Mauna Loa tuning, Mokihana tuning as it's called by some, is a very sweet tuning, and it's one of my favorites. You can actually make the guitar cry with this kind of tuning." Dennis Kamakahi, who says that C Mauna Loa tuning is probably his favorite, recounts that slack key guitarist Malaki Kanahele from the island of Ni'ihau once told him that when he (Malaki) was a boy, people often played in that tuning "to lullaby the kids to sleep."

The three most frequently used Mauna Loa Tunings are C Mauna Loa (C-G-E-G-A-E), G Mauna Loa (D-G-D-D-G-D, with the third and fourth strings tuned to the same note), and Bb Mauna Loa (F-Bb-D-F-G-D, often tuned up two half-steps to the key of C). Violins and mandolins brought to Hawai'i and normally tuned in fifth intervals may have influenced these Mauna Loa Tunings.

When two or more guitarists play together, they often use different tunings in the same key. For example, one guitarist might use G Major Tuning and the other might use G Wahine Tuning. Guitars can also be played together with different tunings in different keys, using a capo on various frets to sound in the same key. An example of this would be one guitarist playing in a G tuning, with a second in a C tuning capoed up to the 7th fret to sound in the key of G.

Two of the most stunning duets ever recorded are by Abraham Konanui and an unnamed second guitarist (possibly Fred Punahoa, both uncles of slack key great Led Kaapana) on the songs Hawaiian Melody and Maui Serenade. These, along with the earliest recorded tracks by Gabby Pahinui and five other 1940s and 1950s slack key artists, are reissued on the album THE HISTORY OF SLACK KEY GUITAR (Hana Ola Records). Another beautiful pure slack duet, Ka Ua Noe, was recorded by Atta Isaacs and Gabby Pahinui on the album TWO SLACK KEY GUITARS (Tradewinds Records). That song was reissued on compact disc with the wrong title, March Medley.

Slack Key Influences from Outside Hawai'i

Hawai'i is a crossroads of cultures, and its music reflects many influences: Mexican, Spanish and Portuguese music; Caribbean and Polynesian music, especially from Samoa, Tahiti and Tonga; European music, especially from Germany and England; as well as music from the American Mainland, including jazz, country & western, folk and pop. Hawaiians have absorbed it all and enriched it with their mana (soul, or spiritual power).

While the late slack key master Sonny Chillingworth was strongly committed to Hawaiian music, his repertoire included a diversity of styles Ð Hawaiian standards, original compositions, country, Portuguese, rock oldies, Puerto Rican, Mexican and rhythm and blues. Similarly, Dennis Kamakahi recalled that as he grew up, he absorbed music from many different cultures. "At that time it wasn't strange to go to one house, and they'd have Portuguese music playing; another would have Puerto Rican music; and another would have Japanese." Besides Hawaiian music, rock music was the other major influence in those early years.

Mainland music has also enjoyed a reciprocal relationship with music from Hawai'i. In the early 1890s, Hawaiian musicians such as the Royal Hawaiian Band, steel guitarists and vocal groups, began touring in the U.S. The 1912 Broadway show, BIRD OF PARADISE, helped introduce Hawaiian music (although not slack key guitar) to the Mainland, as did Hawaiian shows at the big Panama Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco.

In the following years, Hawaiian recordings, especially acoustic steel guitar tracks and vocal tracks, became the biggest selling records in the U.S. Increased recordings and tours by Hawaiian performers greatly influenced blues musicians who played slide guitar, as well as country & western steel guitarists. (Steel guitar, as opposed to steel string, finger-picked guitar, refers to any guitar played with a metal bar, regardless of what material the guitar is made. Likewise, slack key does not refer to a type of guitar but rather a style of playing that can be performed on any kind of guitar.)

In the late 1880s, some slack key guitarists began holding the guitar flat on the lap and playing it with a metal bar. These guitarists used slack key tunings, particularly the G Major or "Taro Patch" Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D). Soon after, the strings were raised so that the metal bar would not hit the fretboard, and different steel guitar tunings evloved to accomodate the limitations of playing with the metal bar. This evolved into the lap steel guitar, which was later played more often on a stand. Much later, pedals were added, and it became known as the pedal steel guitar, which is prevalent in country & western music.

Some Hawaiian steel guitar tunings, and thus some Mainland lap and pedal steel guitar tunings, evolved from slack key tunings. For example, the "High Bass G" Major Tuning (G-B-D-G-B-D) for the dobro, or acoustic steel, and lap steel, evolved from the G Major "Taro Patch" Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), which is also often called "Low Bass G." The C Major 6th Tuning for the pedal steel guitar may have come somewhat from the C Mauna Loa Tuning (C-G-E-G-A-E), which has a sixth note (A) in the tuning.

The hot jazz of the 1920s and 1930s, especially the great trumpeters Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke, influenced the Hawaiian steel guitar players, most notably Sol Ho'opi'i (1902-1953). The great acoustic steel player Tao Moe points out that when he was a boy growing up in the pre-World War I era, many steel guitar players played in the slack key style. This later changed, however, when Sol Ho'opi'i began changing the tunings and concentrating on jazzy single note lead lines.

Because of the distance between islands, each developed unique styles, sometimes even specific to regions of an island. The Big Island, due to its size, has engendered the greatest variety of regional styles. Other players, especially those around Honolulu, often developed more modern and improvised styles as a result of greater exposure to different musical traditions from the American Mainland and other parts of the world. To this day, slack key artists draw from the traditions of the area where they grew up and from the music of their 'ohana (family) and add to it their own individual playing style. In recent years, learning from recordings has become more common, as well as learning from professional teachers, both in schools and private lessons.

Gabby Pahinui and the Other Major Slack Key Figures

The most influential slack key guitarist in history was the late Philip "Gabby" Pahinui (1921-1980). The modern slack key period began around 1946, when Gabby, often referred to as "The Father of The Modern Slack Key Era," made the first-ever slack key recordings.

Gabby was the prime influence for keeping slack key guitar from dying out in the Islands. His prolific and unique techniques led to the guitar becoming more recognized as a solo instrument. He expanded the boundaries of slack key guitar by creating a fully-evolved solo guitar style capable of creatively interpreting a wide variety of Hawaiian traditional and popular standards, original pieces and even pieces from other cultures, including Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Portugal and Spain; and also Mainland American jazz, folk, pop and country & western music.

Gabby's five earliest recordings from the 1940s (four 78 rpms on Bell Records and one on Aloha Records) were especially influential : Hi'ilawe (twice), Key Khoalu [sic], Hula Medley and Wai O Ke Aniani. (These have been reissued along with fifteen 1940s tracks by eight other artists on the recording THE HISTORY OF SLACK KEY GUITAR on Hana Ola Records).

These recordings inspired and astounded many other slack key guitarists given the level of Gabby's playing and because each song was in a different tuning. He also made more great recordings in the 1950s for the Waikiki label, which were mostly issued on three different albums: HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY - VOLUME 1, HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY - VOLUME 2 and THE BEST OF HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY. In 1961 the late Dave Guard, who performed with the first Kingston Trio, grew up in Hawai'i, and was inspired by Gabby, produced the beautiful album PURE GABBY, which was eventually released in 1978.

Ray Kane said of Gabby, "He had the true Hawaiian style: his voice, his timing, his touch. You can really feel it in the heart. Words can never express."

Gabby's beautiful, expressive vocals, especially his incredibly soulful falsetto, have also inspired many other musicians, including sons Cyril and Bla, who are slack key artists in their own right, as well as Martin, whose voice and falsetto renderings of Hawaiian classics such as Na Ka Pueo, Ka 'Ano'i and Mama E are reminiscent of his father's. Exposed to music at home when extended family and friends, including slack key greats such as Atta Isaacs and Sonny Chillingworth, would come together to party and jam into the wee hours of the morning, Gabby's son Cyril--eighth of ten children--started playing guitar and 'ukulele at the age of seven. "I used to watch my dad, Atta, Sonny and my brothers when they would jam. They were so awesome you didn't want to miss anything. You didn't even want to blink your eyes!" he said. "Music was so important to him. It was his life."

Second oldest son Bla, who likes to experiment with his Hawaiian music, changing phrasings-Ð"I don't like to rush the note"-Ðsaid of his father, "Whatever you do, bottom line, it has to work. It has to be real, but it has to work-Ðnot just for you but also for the other musicians and for whoever takes the time to listen to you. My dad got away with a lot of stuff, because it worked. And he touched so many people, because he shared what was in his heart in such an honest and direct way." In 1983, three years after his father passed away, Bla wrote Gabby's Song, a mele inoa, or name song, because "I missed him [and] I just wanted to tell him thanks and that I loved him." That song appears on his WINDWARD HEART album.

Gabby, known affectionately as Pops, never realized his dream to do an album with his sons alone, but he did manage to draft sons Bla, Cyril, Martin and Philip to join him in the Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band, one of the most popular and influential groups of the early 1970s. At the height of what is now referred to as the Hawaiian Renaissance, the Gabby Band filled large venues, outselling big Mainland musicians and acts, and also revitalized the slack key scene.

The band provides a good example of the complex sound that slack key can achieve with multiple guitars. Along with Gabby and four of his sons, this band featured the late great slack key guitarists Leland "Atta" Isaacs, Sr. (1930-1983) and Sonny Chillingworth (1932-1994). On the band's recordings, each guitarist usually played in a different C tuning (and Bla and Cyril played in D tunings tuned down to the key of C), providing a thick, multi-textured sound. (Joe Gang was the group's bassist.)

Sonny Chillingworth acknowledged the great impact that Gabby had on him. It was Gabby's version of Hi'ilawe that "really turned me on to slack key," he said. "That was beautiful. His voice was high then. We didn't have electricity on Moloka'i, but we had one of those old Victrolas with a crank. I had that record going, you know, playing and playing." Later, a young Sonny finally met Gabby and played his guitar for him. "He must have liked what he heard, 'cause he went back in and came out with his guitar. We played all night. That was really an honor. Later, we played together. I loved the man. Nobody else did what Gabby did."

Ozzie Kotani said of Gabby, "He's the greatest influence on most of us, because of the great recordings he's put out. Gabby played a beautiful style with great feeling for the music. No one else has ever done it quite the same. That's why I consider myself still a student. I can always look forward to listening to him and trying to figure out more."

Besides Gabby, the two other most influential slack key artists have been the late Edwin "Sonny" Chillingworth (1932-1994) and the late Leonard Kwan (1930-2000), both of whom recorded from the 1950s through the late 1990s.

Sonny began his recording career around 1954, when he recorded Make'e 'Ailana with the late Auntie Vickie I'i Rodrigues. He later recorded two singles for Waikiki Records in the late 1950s: his signature composition Whee Ha Swing and Moana Chimes/Pa'ahana. In 1964, he released his now-classic first album WAIMEA COWBOY on the Mahalo label and recorded five more albums in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as backing up many other artists. In addition to playing in the Gabby Band, he kept busy with his own band and for a while held the slack key guitar chair in 'ukulele master Eddie Kamae's very influential group, the Sons of Hawai'i, (a position also held at different times by Gabby Pahinui, Atta Isaacs, Dennis Kamakahi, and George Kuo) although he never recorded with them.

His original approach to bass patterns and runs, chord voicings and vamps made his style easy to identify. Like his close friend and mentor, Gabby Pahinui, he both preserved and extended the tradition as he learned from diverse sources and added his own techniques. Sonny's former student Ozzie Kotani said of his teacher, "I'll never forget the patience and kindness Sonny showed me. There's no question why I am so committed to teaching Ð Sonny shared with me in such a memorable way." Kotani continues, "Sonny was a true virtuoso. His style was unique with wonderfully original movements. He was able to execute extremely difficult passages with speed and fluidity, and yet he was able to capture an unmistakable sweetness and cleanness in his playing and singing. He leaves us a wonderful legacy in his music, an inspiration to everyone who loves slack key."

Leonard Kwan made the first ever all-instrumental slack key album, SLACK KEY (also known as "The Red Album'') for the Tradewinds label in 1960. This album, which included his standard slack key piece, 'Opihi Moemoe, has influenced all the next generations of ki ho'alu guitarists.

These three slack key elders are noteworthy not only for their beautiful playing--and singing, in Gabby's and Sonny's cases--and their recordings, but also for the influence they have had in completely and forever altering and expanding the slack key tradition. Also influential was the late Leland "Atta" Isaacs Sr. (1929-1983) from the renowned Isaacs musical family, who was a great improviser, and particularly influenced Cyril Pahinui. He was also known for his C Major Tuning (C-G-E-G-C-E) and for his work with Gabby Pahinui. Ray Kane also made some influential early 1960s recordings and embodies the early 1900s style of playing. Auntie Alice Namakelua (1892-1987), whose 1800s style was the earliest style ever documented, has also inspired many players, especially with her prominent use of the old G Wahine Tuning (D-G-D-F#-B-D), which many refer to by her name.

The release of several great slack key albums in the 1960s by Leonard Kwan, Ray Kane, Atta Isaacs and Gabby Pahinui on Margaret Williams' Tradewinds label further increased the awareness and popularity of slack key guitar. Those four artists, plus Sonny Chillingworth, recorded in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and influenced all the younger slack key guitarists. The next generation's three most influential slack key guitarists issued their own first recordings in the 1970s: Keola Beamer (solo and with his brother Kapono), Led Kaapana (with his trios Hui 'Ohana and I Kona), and Peter Moon (with his groups the Sunday Manoa and the Peter Moon Band). Leonard Kwan (until his death in 2000), Ray Kane and Sonny Chillingworth (until his death in 1994) continued to record and influence many others into the 1980s and 1990s.

Slack Key Since 1970

Since the early 1970s (often called the era of the Hawaiian Renaissance), Hawaiians have increasingly looked to their cultural roots, and because of this, slack key guitar has steadily grown in popularity. The Hawaiian Music Foundation, founded by Dr. George Kanahele, did much to increase awareness through its publications, music classes and the sponsoring of concerts, including the landmark 1972 slack key concert, which was the first ever held anywhere.

The slack key tradition reached its peak in the mid 1990s and is still going strong in the early 21st century. Currently, there are several annual slack key festivals held in the Islands. More slack key guitar recordings are now available throughout the world. More guitarists are giving concerts more frequently in, and outside of, Hawai'i, including on the Mainland and in Japan and Europe. Additionally, slack key is gaining recognition in more institutional music settings. In 1998, Ozzie Kotani gave the first-ever solo instrumental slack key recitals. With these developments and with the techniques and influences of today's players expanding the range of slack key guitar, the future looks bright for ki ho'alu. It is a testament to the depth of the slack key traditon that it is one of the oldest music traditions to still be a viable (other than just historical) part of a modern culture, like Irish dance music and Spanish Flamenco guitar.

Dancing Cat Records

Dancing Cat Records is producing the ongoing Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Series, which consists mainly of solo albums by many of the best players in Hawai'i. The entire repertoire of each player, as well as experiments beyond, are being recorded. These guitarists include the late Sonny Chillingworth, Leonard Kwan, Ray Kane, Keola Beamer, Led Kaapana, Cyril Pahinui, Ozzie Kotani, George Kuo, Dennis Kamakahi, Bla Pahinui, George Kahumoku, Jr., Moses Kahumoku, Cindy Combs, Pat Cockett and others. Ultimately, Dancing Cat plans to release about seventy albums. Until these recordings were made it was rare to hear slack key played solo on record.

Dancing Cat Records is also producing a series of Hawaiian acoustic steel and slack key guitar duet recordings. Until recently, this combination has curiously been absent from the entire history of Hawaiian recording. The first of these, HAWAIIAN TOUCH, with the late steel guitarist Barney Isaacs and slack key guitarist George Kuo, was released in 1995. In 1997, Dancing Cat Records issued KIKA KILA MEETS KI HO'ALU, featuring Bob Brozman on acoustic steel guitar with Led Kaapana on slack key. Bob also plays duets with Cyril Pahinui on slack key on the 1999 recording FOUR HANDS SWEET & HOT and again with Led on the recording IN THE SADDLE. More of these duet albums are planned.

1Thus, the phrase was coined, "slack key," which is translated in Hawaiian as "ki" (key Ð can refer to the strings or notes of the strings, or to the tuning pegs) and "ho'alu" (to slacken).

2Some of the worldÕs other highly developed regional solo guitar styles include the following: a. Spanish flamenco (e.g., the late Ramon Montoya, Paco de Lucia, the late Sabicas, Paco Pena, Carlos Montoya,); b. Spanish and European classical guitar (e.g., the late Andres Segovia, Julian Bream, John Williams, Michael Lorimer, Christopher Parkening); c. Brazilian guitar (e.g., the late Bola Sete, the late Baden Powell, Egberto Gismanti, the late Luiz Bonfý, Raphael Rabello, Laurindo Almeida, Paulo Bellinati, Nando Lauria, Marco Pereira, Romero Laubambo, Nonato Luiz, Sebastia— Tapaj—s, Oscar Castro-Neves, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Toquinho); d. Older acoustic American country blues/ragtime guitar (e.g., Blind Blake, Gary Davis, Robert Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Charlie Patton, Son House, Skip James); e. Nashville country/pop/jazz guitar (e.g., the late Merle Travis, the late Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, John Knowles); f. Solo jazz guitar (e.g., the late George Van Epps, then late Lenny Breau, Ted Greene); g. Recent developments in America and Europe of contemporary blues/ragtime/pop arrangements (e.g., Guy van Duser, Rick Ruskin, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Stefan Grossman); h. Contemporary impressionistic styles based on American folk music and other influences (e.g., the late John Fahey, Alex deGrassi, Daniel Hecht, Leo Kottke, David Qualey, the late Michael Hedges, Peter Lang, John Roth, Michael Gulezian, Ed Wright, Walter Boruta); i. Contemporary impressionistic styles based on Irish and European folk music (e.g., Pierre Bensusan, John Renbourn, Burt Jansch, Davey Graham, Dick Gaughan, Martin Simpson, John Feeley, Dan Ar Bras); j. African solo guitar (e.g., the late Jean Bosco Mwenda Ð also known as Mwenda wa Bayeke, Pascal Diatta, Ali Farka Toure, DÕGary, Erich Manana, Stephen Tsotsi Kasumali, Herbert Misango, Baubacar Truore, and the great "Blind Man and His Guitar" Ð who plays one wonderful solo instrumental piece called Isoka Labaleka on the anthology cassette tape SOUTH AFRICAN JIVE, VOLUME IV on the Woza Label); k. Classical Russian guitar played both in standard tuning and sometimes on a seven-string guitar with the tuning D-G-B-D-G-B-D, from the lowest pitched string to the highest (e.g., Boris Okunew and Leif Christensen); l. Guitar from India, who usually play the guitar lap-style with a slide (e.g., Brij Bhushan Kabra, Debasish Bhattacharya and Vishwa Mohan Bahtt); m. Polynesian/Pacific Island guitar (e.g., Saki from Fiji [and his nephew]; bass player from Tonga who played church song in tuning from Tonga; and Australiam band called Not Drowning Waving).

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Arbuthnot
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 05:56 PM

I wish more people would make posts as interesting and informative as this one!

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 09:51 PM

Glad to see that I didn't kill the thread with the post--as I said, merely copied from the Dancing Cat thread--

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: open mike
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 03:58 AM

whew...i was looking for some info and some music links and this
thread has a lot of info from the DANCING CAT SITE.

I am planning on a hawaiian music focus for my radio show and am
looking for any info and music that might be good to explore and

Hapa, Slack Key, Kanaka, Kahuna, hula, luau, there any one (Mark Cohen??) out there who
has any leads or links or ideas to share?

thanks Laurel...your Radio "Common 'Tater"

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 08:51 PM

I wonder if Mark is lurking around the 'Cat these days? His last post is in February of '06. Anyway, a couple of his Seattle Song Circle buddies (Jean and Susy) have been making a regular trek to the Islands to master the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 09:15 PM
I've been working my way thru this instructional dvd - very well done.

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 09:22 PM

And this year's nominees for the Grammy are:

Best Hawaiian Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

    * Generation Hawai'i
      Amy Hanaiali'i
      [Hanaiali'i Records]

    * Grandmaster Slack Key Guitar
      Ledward Ka'apana
      [Rhythm And Roots Records]

    * The Wild Hawaiian
      Henry Kapono
      [Eclectic Records]

    * Hawaiian Slack Key Kings
      Various Artists
      Chris Lau & Milton Lau, producers
      [Rhythm And Roots Records]

    * Legends Of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar — Live From Maui
      Various Artists
      Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku, Jr., Paul Konwiser & Wayne Wong, producers

(I try to buy the "unknown" grammny nominees every year for the Library -- folk, blues, bluegrass, Native American, Hawaiian and so on.)

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Darowyn
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 06:23 AM

Basil Henriques website
The above is a link to the website of a gentleman named Basil Henriques, who is one of the UK's leading Hawaiian Steel guitarists.
He has researched the story of the Vaqueros more deeply and has come to the conclusion that it is almost certainly a myth.
There were only six of them , three were North Americans, and there is no indication that any of them played anything.
I have the full story on my computer at work, and I will post it later if anyone is interested.

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 04:26 PM

I was pleased to see Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar - Masters Collection Vol. 2 won a Grammy.

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: Clontarf83
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 02:04 AM

Ken Emerson from Kauai is a personal favourite of mine. I've travelled to Hawaii several times now, and the highlight for me is the Sunday night session in the Marriot in Waikiki, led by George Kuo, who is a really sweet man.

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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 07:40 AM

Fabulous post! Thanks for reviving.

Watching the Grammy webcast the other day, I was reminded of seeing George Winston, and being introduced to this music. What an experience. Not surprising that this is one of his musical loves, after watching him practically climb IN the piano to play the strings.



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Subject: RE: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar info
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 01:09 AM

I found slack key as wonderfull and special and after having played bluegrass banjo for years the chords and notes were easy hawiian music compared to bluegrass and country is both beautifull and sole full and when playing i feel lost in it's beauty I'm also persuring double neck steel to inhance my love of this music started late in life but working hard at learning spending 4 to 6 hours each day being from the south I love studing the old way of life!!

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