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 inspiration -- * September giveaway *
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Admin
Pupule

USA
4521 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  10:40:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Send Admin an AOL message  Send Admin an ICQ Message  Send Admin a Yahoo! Message
2 CD's are up for grabs this month.
1) Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar
2) Darin Leong Five Years And Many Miles

To qualify for the drawing, please post in this topic. So who or what inspired you to love, play, learn Hawaiian slack key guitar (or `ukulele, steel, etc)? Or who or what inspires you musically today? Share your thoughts, and your name just might be drawn in October.

Andy

noeau
Ha`aha`a

USA
1105 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  10:51:03 AM  Show Profile
I was exposed to slackkey at 11years old. But did not play it much. Then one day when I was 16 I met an 11 year old who played very well. I don't know if he still plays or not. Then in my 20's the Sons xmas album came out and Sunday Manoa released their first. I was in various singing groups by this time Choral kind that is. But then I just decided to start playing then went on to study the language and been doing stuff like that ever since. Now I just try to learn new songs and play as smoothly as I can. I also plan to continue learning what I can in music. I like the jazzy swing era of Hawaiian music because the orchestration and the chord progressions sound good to me. One of my favorites is George Helm and another is Andy Cummings. There are many more abd most of you have heard of them already.

No'eau, eia au he mea pa'ani wale nō.
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wdf
Ha`aha`a

USA
1125 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  11:09:41 AM  Show Profile
OK, I guess it's about time for this one again (we did it in Oct 2002 and then again in Aug 2005):


On a visit to Maui in 1992 I became aware of an intriguing type of music. I didn't know what it was called - only that it sounded so sweet. When I got home I forgot about it. Then, a couple of years later I found a Ray Kane CD (Punahele) and loved it.

At some point my wife, Sheila, and I attended a house concert near our home. Sheila had been interested in the mountain dulcimer for a few years and there was this dulcimer player playing a number of funky old dulcimers at this house concert. Near the end of the concert he pulled out a guitar and began to play some beautiful Hawaiian slack key tunes (Punahele and others). If you haven't guessed it yet, the artist was our own Mark Nelson. We had been aware of his dulcimer prowess for years and Sheila had attended many of his dulcimer workshops. (We continue to seek out his workshops.)

I've owned guitars for many years and could play some flatpicked fiddle tunes. But mostly my guitars stayed in the closet. Hearing Mark play motivated me to get Keola's video and try it. Well, that was a flop. It was too advanced for me as I didn't fingerpick.

A year or so later a former co-worker of Sheila's gave us a CD of Doug & Sandy McMaster. After listening to it We went to Kaua`i in summer 2000. Doug gave me some pointers. I rented a baby Taylor from him and started to learn. I struggled for about 6 months to learn one song. It drove Sheila nuts.

During that trip I became aware of Ozzie Kotani's book and got it. I've also collected just about every other piece of instructional material available and have attended many camps and workshops. I have about 7 or 8 binders full of tab (which I hardly ever look at). I have a hard time following tab. I learn mostly by ear now.

I love the music. It has been a fantastic journey.

Dusty
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Mika ele
Ha`aha`a

USA
1485 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  11:13:39 AM  Show Profile
Dusty inspires ME!

E nana, e ho'olohe. E pa'a ka waha, e hana ka lima.
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wcerto
Ahonui

USA
5052 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  11:23:03 AM  Show Profile
I came to my love of Hawaiian music from reading James Michener's "Hawai`i". I read the book many years ago and found it to be completely fascinating. There was a part in the book about a young man who was a "beach boy" and loved to play slack key guitar. I had never heard of it and not knowing anything about it, went on amazon.com and typed in slack key. Up popped Israel Kamakawiwo`ole. I was amazed by pictures of this huge man. I read the reviews for his music and everyone just raved about how beautiful the music was. I listed to the samples available and decided he didn't sound so bad at all, even if I could not understand the words. So I ordered my first Hawaiian music -- Iz in Concert. Wow! I was blown away. I ended up ordering everything of his I could find, CDs, DVDs, t-shirt. Little did I know, though, it was not slack key. No matter. It got me started. That interest led us to take the trip of a lifetime to Hawai`i on a cruise, because that was the most cost effective way for us to get there. On the ship we met a wonderful Hawaiian culture expert, Wayne Chang, who gave lectures each day on the history and culture of Hawai`i. He started pre-Cook and took us up to the current days. First day, Paul and I and maybe one or two others were the only ones who listened to his lecture, tucked away in some obscure corner lounge. We enjoyed his talk so much, we told everyone we met about him and urged them to come and listen the next day. Every day, more and more people came to his lectures, until the last day, they had to hold his lecture in the movie theater, there were so many people who wanted to hear him. On that same cruise, there was a wonderful Hawaiian musician named Charles Nahale from Kailua-Kona. He also was put into this out of the way lounge, a tapas bar, at that. Wow! His music was beautiful. He did not sing too many traditional Hawaiian songs because he was playing to what he thought his audience was, but we were able to talk story with him and he shared his aloha. He told us about other musicians whose music we may enjoy and thus began our road to the extensive music library we now have. One of the first slack key CDs we got was Cyril Pahinui, then we got Dennis Kamakahi and then Leilani Rivera Bond, then then it just took off from there..Gabby, Bla, Martin, more Cyril, more Dennis, Sonny Chillingworth, Uncle Ray, Song of Hawai`i, Ledward, George Kahumoku; Makaha Sons, Hui `Ohana, Dennis Pavao, Aunty Genoa, Uncle Moe, Gary Haleamau, Pekelo, George Kuo, Ho`opi`i Brothers, and on and on and on. What a ride it has been.

Me ke aloha
Malama pono,
Wanda
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Momi
Lokahi

398 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  11:39:11 AM  Show Profile
I was born and raised in Kane`ohe to practically the biggest Hui `Ohana fan on the planet. I grew up listening to them, the Beamer Brothers, Olomana, Palani Vaughn, Melveen Leed, the Cazimeros, and Ohta san. I learned `ukulele as part of the 4th grade curriculum in place in the public schools at the time, and I never stopped playing. For many years after moving to Seattle, I couldn't listen to Hawaiian music without becoming terribly homesick. It wasn't until Retro caught the Hawaiian music bug that it became a comfort rather than a torment.

Aside from the present day `ukulele phenoms (Ohta san, Herb Jr., Jake S., Lyle Ritz, Bryan Tolentino, David Kamakahi, Brittni Paiva), the usual suspects in the Washington/Idaho/Oregon area kanikapila scene encourage and inspire me to learn more. Many thanks to Andy for providing a forum to meet, discuss, debate, learn and play.

Edited by - Momi on 09/06/2007 11:49:08 AM
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Keone
Akahai

50 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  12:25:12 PM  Show Profile
I've played guitar since college, but mainly rock and blues. I knew about Slack key because of my experience playing in open G for some blues tunes but didn't really know much about Ki ho'alu. Well, it turns out I met my wife in Hawaii and she is Hawaiian, born, raised, and in the blood. When her family would get together, inevitably, the guitars, ukelele's, etc would come out, people would sing and dance. It was great and I was captured by the....aloha. In any case, one uncle played slack (he learned from Auntie Alice) and I was struck by how beautiful and emotional it was. From a technical stand point, I loved how the slack tuning opened up the entire fretboard and allowed the use of the whole neck. I also liked how it could be a solo endeavor (bass plus melody....I mainly play by myself late at night). After that I listened to players like Led, Sonny, Ozzie, Gabby, etc and was amazed by how complex--both emotionally and technically, and by how it just took me back to such a beautiful place. Such Imagery! In any case, I started to play and now my guitars are all tuned to tunings other than standard.

P.S. The other reason is because when I play slack key my wife let's me play for hours, if I play blues she only lets me play 15 minutes!

Keone
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Retro
Ahonui

USA
2362 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  12:27:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit Retro's Homepage
Simple answer) I fell in love with Momi.

Complex answer) I'm a music freak, so I already knew about ki ho`alu while working in public radio. I discovered the rest of the huge pool after spending time in Hawai`i with Momi's family. I started studying with kumu hula Gloria Kalamalamaka`ilialoha Napualani Fujii (Halau Hula O Napualani) in January 1999, which led to `ukulele lessons in November of that year. Connection to the halau led to becoming a co-host on "Hawai`i Radio Connection" in January 2001, and writing for "Northwest Hawai`i Times" in April 2004, as well as programming Hawaiian music for Muzak for several years (that last one ending in May of this year.)

Don't you think the simple answer is the better one?
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wcerto
Ahonui

USA
5052 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  12:56:34 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Retro

Simple answer) I fell in love with Momi.


Don't you think the simple answer is the better one?



Yes, I do, and I'll bet Momi does, too. You warm the cockles of my heart (whatever cockles are).

Me ke aloha
Malama pono,
Wanda
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kaniala5
Akahai

USA
65 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  1:28:20 PM  Show Profile  Send kaniala5 a Yahoo! Message
I grew up listening to Hui Ohana, Gabby and his many collaborative efforts including my favorite that he did with Ohta-San (Two Slack Key Guitars Play Old Hawaii?). Then 1420am KCCN in the 80's and 90's (my dad used KCCN to locate Hawaii with his directional radio antenae when he sailed home in the 70's).

Inspired by homesickness and a desire to reconnect to the islands without actually going back home. I have been studying slack key since about 2006.

I am motivated to learn more as my skills progress.

Look for reasons to be happy rather than excuses to be miserable.
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Momi
Lokahi

398 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  1:34:21 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Retro

Simple answer) I fell in love with Momi.


Careful dear - we're going to make people throw up. I promise I was not holding a gun to his head as he posted that!
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bbenzel
Lokahi

USA
130 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  4:04:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit bbenzel's Homepage
When I moved from Philadelphia to San Diego in 1996 a friend wanted to introduce me to a local band, The Rugburns, so he cut a 90 minute tape for me from a couple of his CDs. Of course there was space at the end of the tape and he filled it out with about 35 minutes of instrumental music from one of Gabby's CDs.

Within a week I had the Dancing Cat compilation and about a donzen additional CDs. I was not playing at the time, just used to love listening to the mellow tracks and relaxing to it -- it definitely put me into a very laid back headspace.

When I started playing again it was just natural for me to put the guitar into open G and try to remember the '60s instrumental stuff that I had played back during the "folk scare" -- from there it just seemed natural to start taking a guitar to the beach. I play, the ocean drums, neat stuff happens to me....

Bill
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hwnmusiclives
`Olu`olu

USA
580 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  5:11:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit hwnmusiclives's Homepage
My grandfather came from the Philippines to the U.S. via Honolulu. (I am still unclear as to why the pit stop in Hawai`i. But then I am also unclear as to why he chose New Jersey as his final destination.) My grandfather was a musician who played guitar, mandolin, and upright bass. So while in Hawai`i this short time, he played with bands around Honolulu. When he left Hawai`i for the mainland, he brought the music with him - not on records (which were too heavy to carry, I suppose), but in his head and in his heart.

So, when my father was born, there was already Hawaiian music playing around the house. My father fell in love with the steel guitar and decided to take lessons. When he became adequately proficient at it, he found work playing steel with the local Hawaiian ex-patriots who were doing hula shows. But most of his playing was done at the backyard lu`au of these Hawaiians with whom he became fast friends because of his love of the music and the culture.

When my father married my mother (a bass player and singer who then only knew rock-and-roll), she fell in love with Hawaiian music, too! So the hula shows became a family affair. (My mother even learned to hula!) I remember my mom - a strange ethnic mélange, but mostly Cherokee - singing me to sleep with "Kamakani Ka`ili Aloha." I remember, too, my mom and dad singing duet on "Ke Kali Nei `Au."

When I was born, however, I wanted no part of it. I heard this music and I thought it... well... sucked. My father played mostly "Hawaii Calls" records around the house, and that sound did not "do it" for me - especially when my friends were turning me on to AC/DC, Van Halen, Peter Frampton, and The Police. But I was pretty much forced to go along to the hula shows when my parents ran out of friends and family willing to babysit every Friday and Saturday night when they were out performing. I learned a few songs, got up and sang with mom and dad's band, people threw money at me (I'm still not sure if that was out of appreciation or if they were trying to pelt me), and it all made the night minimally bearable.

Because we were always around Hawaiians (which was the best part of it all because they were beautiful, loving, and generous people), I began hearing other kinds of Hawaiian music - the kind they played at backyard parties. One aunty went home to Hawai`i for her annual visit and she brought me back a souvenir - an LP called "Young Hawai`i Plays Old Hawai`i" by a group I had never heard of, "Hui Ohana." And I thought, "Oh, great, more crappy Hawaiian music." But she must have felt my pain because the music on that record was like nothing I had heard from Hawai`i before. The guitar player was playing something uniquely Hawaiian, but it was also infused with jazz, country, R&B, and rock. The bass player played these crazy jazz runs - eight notes to the bar. And the lead singer had the voice of an angel. Together, they sang these tight, clean, jazzy harmonies. And I thought I could listen to that record forever. But, more importantly, it made me want to sing like Dennis and play like Led. So that's when it all started for me.

This same aunty saw that I caught the bug and she brought me more records. The Sunday Manoa's "3" and the Makaha Sons of Ni`ihau's "No Kristo" sealed the deal for me. I knew that I wanted to be a musician and that Hawaiian music would be a part of my life for the rest of my life.

I spent every spare moment with headphones on - wearing out these records while I tried copying every lick and learning every word to these songs in a language I didn't even understand (and without any lyric books, which were rare in those days). I studied Eddie Kamae and Herb Ohta until I could play their solos almost exactly like on the records. I did the same with slack key guitar emulating Sonny Chillingworth and Led Kaapana. When my voice finally changed, I was singing falsetto along with Mahi Beamer, Dennis Pavao, Tony Conjugacion, Buddy Fo and the Invitations, Bill Lincoln, John Pi`ilani Watkins, and the Brothers Cazimero. And my rhythm guitar style probably comes mostly from Pua Almeida, Pauline Kekahuna, and Sonny Kamahele.

I didn't pick up the steel guitar until I was in my early 20s. I think I was rebelling against my father by not taking up the steel sooner because that was his instrument. But I gained a new appreciation for those old "Hawaii Calls" records I once despised, and I suddenly wanted to play like Jules Ah See, Barney Isaacs, Eddie Pang, and Joe Custino. And I learned the bass out of sheer necessity - when I started recording songs in my home studio on a four-track recorder - because I didn't know any bass players who understood (or desired to play) Hawaiian music.

And throughout those formative years I continued to amass a collection of Hawaiian music recordings - first by using and abusing my aunties and uncles and begging them to bring me back the latest everything on their trips home, then by mail order (making best friends with the good people at the now forgotten House of Music at Ala Moana Shopping Center and Jelly's on Ke`eaumoku), and then via the Internet. I now have over 2,500 recordings of Hawaiian music - nearly all of the LPs recorded in Hawai`i since the advent of that medium, plus over 1,000 CDs, casettes, open reel tapes, miscellaneous 45s and 78s, and rare radio broadcasts, interviews, and bootlegs (some entrusted to me by the artists themselves).

Hawaiian music is my passion and my life.


Join me for the history of Hawaiian music and its musicians at Ho`olohe Hou at www.hoolohehou.org.
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neeej
`Olu`olu

USA
593 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  7:16:54 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by wcerto
You warm the cockles of my heart (whatever cockles are).



They're what keep the mussels workin', of course <EG>

--Jean S
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noeau
Ha`aha`a

USA
1105 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  8:16:26 PM  Show Profile
Now this is a greatthread. No mo nobody analyzing anyting. Just good kine talk story.

No'eau, eia au he mea pa'ani wale nō.
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wcerto
Ahonui

USA
5052 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2007 :  12:04:50 AM  Show Profile
Jean, Jean, Jean....I thought only the boys resorted to puns. Although yours is far superior. You started my morning with a chuckle. Thanks.

Me ke aloha
Malama pono,
Wanda
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