Artist Title    
(non-instructional) Ki Ho`alu (Loosen the Key) Keola Beamer   
Keola Beamer  

Format: 90 minutes
Pub. Date: Dec. 15, 2003
Rating: NR
`Ohe Records/Jazz Alley TV

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From the
"Ki ho 'alu (Loosen the Key) - KEOLA BEAMER" Rises from Hawaii for the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.

This journey with slack-key guitarist Keola Beamer is both a musical and a spiritual treat. Beamer's playing is nothing short of amazing -- and that playing is captured, in compelling style, against the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.
****  Norman Provizer
Jazz critic, Rocky Mountain News, Denver - About, Kiho'alu -- Loosen the Key.

(Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii) - Like an inspired west-rising sun, this independent, feature length, video documentary explores the unusually hypnotic stylings of Hawaiian slack key guitar.  Not just any slack key guitar, though - the sound and soul of one of the world's recognized Masters, Keola Beamer.

From a musical family that pre-dates Western contact, Keola secures his ancient roots while melding them with modern sound.  Career highlights are daunting.  Included in those is Hawaii's unmatched, best-selling recording, "Honolulu City Lights", which he penned and recorded in 1978.  And Keola has matured to what is now considered the apex of his musical career.  As Willie Nelson plainly states in the doc, "Keola's style is the best slack key that there is on the planet."

Not familiar with slack key guitar?  Although it ranks with some of the world's great guitar traditions - such as Chicago and Louisiana blues, flamenco or bossa nova - unfamiliarity is not unusual.  That's simply because of the remoteness of our Hawaiian archipelago.

The unique sound and technique descends from campfire music played by Spanish-Mexican cowboys, visiting Hawaii nearly two centuries ago to wrangle the newly introduced, errant cattle.  Their Hawaiian hosts were piqued by the sounds; then made it their own, their way.

History, techniques, Keola's hand-made guitars... these are all detailed in the documentary.  But there's so much more in this documentary than the details.  While all fascinating and nourishing, it's the MORE to underscore.

If you've ever visited our isles, or if visions of Hawaii have ever fancied your thoughts, prepare to be swept away.  You'll discover the ravishing caresses of a crystal-laced White Mountain, while the story of a lustrous lei, told with true hula, allows the hardest heart to weep. A lone owl, anticipating freedom of the blossoming night, inspires you to touch your own magnificence.

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