The Poetry of Hawaiian Music
“And the Grammy goes to…”
The year before, it was the “Legends.” The year before that, it was the “Masters.” This year—the fourth time in a row a slack key guitar compilation album walked away with the golden gramophone—the GRAMMY for Hawaiian music was awarded to the “Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar.”
“Treasures,” indeed. A quick glance at the artists featured on the CD reveal a wealth of ki hoalu gems: Cyril Pahinui, George Kahumoku, Jr., Dennis Kamakahi and more.
Ki hoalu, which translates to English as "loosen the key," is the Hawaiian name for the solo fingerpicked style unique to Hawaii. In this tradition, the strings (or "keys") are "slacked" to produce many different tunings.
One popular story goes that guitars were introduced to Hawaii in the 1830s by Mexican and Spanish vaqueros, cowboys, who were invited to the Big Island by King Kamehameha III to teach paniolo, Hawaiian cowboys, how to handle cattle. When the vaqueros left Hawaii, a few gifted their guitars to their paniolo friends who added their traditional chants, songs and rhythms to what they had learned from their new friends. Eventually, the Hawaiians developed a fuller sound on one guitar by picking the bass and rhythm chords on the lower three or four strings with the thumb while playing the melody on the upper two or three strings.
Many other nuances characterize Hawaiian slack key guitar, but the only real way to understand ki ho’alu is to listen to it.
Reviews: “A dozen tracks, culled from a live, ongoing "Masters of Slack Key Guitar Concert Series" on Maui, features the usual luminaries of ki ho'alu sharing their artistry. The vocals add a truly expressive twist to the guitarmanship, and to experience these greats, side by side, is a joyous experience.”
Friday, September 28, 2007
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor
“Record producer Daniel Ho is 2-for-2 at the Grammy Awards with slack-key compilations. This one could easily make Ho and his partners three-time winners at the Grammys next spring.”
Friday, September 14, 2007
Honolulu Star Bulletin
By John Berger
Star Bulletin Features Columnist
1.Maikai Kauai, Dennis Kamakahi (vocal)
2.Kuu Ipo Onaona, Led Kaapana (instrumental)
3.Nani Kaalak, Cyril Pahinui (vocal)
4.Ua Mau, George Kahumoku, Jr. (vocal)
5.Panini Pua Kea, Martin Pahinui (vocal)
6.Henehene Kou Aka, Richard Hoopii (vocal)
7.Alii Poe, Owana Salazar (vocal)
8.Blue Slacks Slack Key, Keoki Kahumoku (instrumental)
9.Wailana, Bobby Ingano (instrumental)
10.Kuu Ipo, My Darling, Daniel Ho (vocal)
11.Cyril’s Slack Key, Sterling Seaton, Dennis Kamakahi, George Kahumoku, Jr., Peter deAquino (instrumental)
12.Laupahoehoe Hula, Keoki Kahumoku, Peter deAquino, Garrett Probst, Daniel Ho (vocal)
Album Notes: Since the 1800’s, slack key guitar has been the music of the Hawaiian ohana (family). Originally known and played only in local island back yards, slack key has come to represent Hawai'i as a true folk art and is now known and enjoyed around the world.
At the weekly Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Concert Series on Maui, Hawaii’s best musicians gather to play this unique style of music. This is the third album of songs recorded live at the slack key show. The first two albums, “Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume One” and “Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar—Live from Maui” were each awarded a Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album of the Year in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
Past winners: 2005: “Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2,” various artists; produced by Charles Michael Brotman; Palm Records.
2006: “Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1,” various artists; produced by Daniel Ho, Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong; Daniel Ho Creations.
2007: “Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar: Live From Maui,” various artists; produced by Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku Jr., Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong; Daniel Ho Creations.