Culver City Observer -

By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

Go on a Hawaiian musical journey at the Slack Key Festival and Island Marketplace on Jan. 16th

 

January 13, 2022

George Kuo

Kala Koa Entertainment is once again presenting its 15th Annual Southern California Slack Key Festival and Island Marketplace, the biggest Hawaiian music event of the year, at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on January 16 at 2pm.

One of the most acclaimed Hawaiian concerts to ever leave the islands, the 2022 festival takes fans on a Hawaiian musical journey showcasing GRAMMY-winning slack key guitarists, the best hula dancers in the world, special guest performers and a free to the public Island Marketplace from 11am to 5pm.

Taking its name from a finger-picking style of guitar playing indigenous to Hawaii (as heard on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for "The Descendants"), the Slack Key Festival brings the art of ki ho'alu guitar to Redondo Beach. Played from the heart and soul through the fingers and flowing with vivid tropical images, Hawaiian ki ho'alu (slack key) is truly one of the great acoustic guitar traditions of the world. In slack key, some of the strings are "slacked" from the standard guitar tuning, with the thumb playing the bass notes while the other fingers play the melody and improvise in a finger-picked style.

This year's Southern California Slack Key Festival's line-up includes George Kuo, Jim "Kimo" West, Jeff Peterson, Patrick Landeza & Sons, Ian O'Sullivan, Pomaika'i & Malie Lyman, and Alan Akaka.

About the Artists

George Kuo is known as one of Hawaii's premier Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar artists playing in the traditional nahenahe (sweet, soothing) style, bridging today's generation with the older generations. George has been twice recognized with excellence in recording achievement by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, for Instrumental Album of the year in 1995 for Hawaiian Touch and 1996 for "Aloha No Na Kupuna – Love for the Elders." In 1986 Eddie Kamae asked George to join his group THE SONS OF HAWAII and in 2000 performed and recorded with Dennis & David Kamakahi & Martin Pahinui as the HUI ALOHA group. Highlights of George's performing career are playing on the Garrison Keillor Prairie Home Companion Show with Chet Atkins and Johnny Gimble in 1993, and performing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Honolulu Symphony in 1997.

Jim "Kimo" West is recognized as one of the world's top "slack key" guitarists and brings his own unique musical perspective to this great acoustic guitar tradition. He is a 2021 Grammy® Award winner for his CD, "More Guitar Stories" and a 2019 Grammy® nominee for "Moku Maluhia-Peaceful Island". He is also a winner of the 2008 Hawaii Music Awards, a three-time Na Hoku Hanohano (the Hawaiian "Grammy") nominee and a two-time winner of the LA Treasures Award for his contributions toward the perpetuation of ki ho'alu. Kimo's film and TV credits include work for 20th Century Fox, Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and Marvel.

Jeff Peterson was born on the Island of Maui and grew up on the slopes of Haleakala where he was introduced to the rich heritage of Hawaiian music by his father, a "paniolo" (Hawaiian cowboy), on the Haleakala Ranch. Recognized as one of Hawaii's most versatile musicians, Jeff Peterson is at the heart of the Hawaiian music scene today, having contributed to two Grammy Award-winning recordings and winner of eight Na Hōkū Hanohano Awards in Hawaii including Slack Key Album of the Year for "Maui on My Mind" in 2010, "Slack Key Travels" in 2014 and "O'ahu" in 2016 which also earned him Instrumental Song of the Year for the song "Old Pali". His latest release "Wahi Pana" is a full-length performance and documentary film and CD soundtrack.

Patrick Landeza & Sons are from the "island of Berkeley, California," Patrick is an award-winning slack key guitarist and teaches slack key guitar in music camps and classes around the country. He has become northern California's – if not much of the West Coast's – go-to man for all things related to Hawaiian music, an essential seam binding California's Hawaiian community together. Huge congrats to Patrick for his 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Award win for Slack Key Hawaiian Album of the Year! Patrick performs today with his sons Justin Firmeza and PJ Landeza on steel guitar and bass, respectively.

Ian O'Sullivan has been proclaimed by Classical Guitar as "a player of great depth and sensitivity" as well as a "composer who is forging a unique repertoire that honors both his Hawaiian roots and his many years of formal training", Ian O'Sullivan is a classically-trained guitarist and composer from the North Shore of O'ahu. Well-versed in Hawaiian music and the 'ukulele, in addition to the Western classical repertoire, Ian has performed internationally and across the United States both as a soloist and with various groups. Past performances include Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, New York Guitar Society, Minnesota Guitar Society, Tokyo Dome, and the Hawaiian Islands. From 2012-2016 Ian taught at the University of Hawaii, and currently serves as Director of Guitar/Ukulele at the Kamehameha Schools, Kapalama Campus.

Pomaika'i & Malie Lyman: A sound piece of the past seems to haunt the soul as you listen to a voice of a young woman that resembles a beloved Aunty Genoa Keawe in her younger years–Pōmaikaʻi was able to learn and develop the unique style of "haʻi" that her Tutu Genoa Keawe mastered and performed throughout Hawaiʻi and many parts of the world. Now, many who enjoy listening to Genoa Keaweʻs music are pleased to hear that Pōmaikaʻi has continued the honor and kuleana of carrying on this musical tradition and legacy. 16-year-old Mālie is one of the Ke Kula Mele Next Generation steel guitar players. Multitalented, she can dance hula, sing, and play several other instruments including the 'ukulele.

Malie has been playing the steel guitar since 2013. Her interest and enthusiasm have allowed her to develop her playing ability and confidence. It's obvious she enjoys entertaining, whether it's doing the hula, singing, or playing a musical instrument.

Jim "Kimo" West

Alan Akaka is an inductee in the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame and has created his own steel guitar sound and style, incorporating styles from the masters: David Rogers, Benny Rogers, Jules Ah See, Billy Hew Len, David Keli'i, Jake Keli'ikoa, and his teacher Jerry Byrd. He has recorded with a number of artists including Genoa Keawe, Owana, Nohelani Cypriano, Nina Keali'iwahamana, and Karen Keawehawai'i as well as with Sweden's Simons and a number of Japan artists and groups. Alan founded and directed the Kamehameha Middle Schools' Na 'Opio Singers and Hawaiian Ensemble and was director of the Performing Arts Academy at Kamehameha for 16 years. In 2009 he established Ke Kula Mele Hawai'i School of Hawaiian Music.

For more information and to buy tickets, go to: https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/kalakoa/1723/event/1237315 or 800-595-4849 - slackkeyfest.com or https://www.kalakoa.com

 

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