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Jewel Ponds

This improvisation is named for the beautiful anchialine ponds you find along the leeward coast of Hawai’i Island.  These ponds are an ultra rare and pristine habitat (please do not bathe in them) that host rare tiny red shrimp – ‘ōpae ‘ula – and can have a magnificent array of turquoise and opaline colors, like jewels.  Some of these ponds are tiny indeed, almost more of a puddle than a pond, and legends tell of ponds that would mysteriously appear to someone only to vanish when visited again.  There can be no denying the strange, quiet magic of Hawai’i’s  anchialine ponds.

Ki Ho’alu

Here’s my take on Gabby Pahinui’s classic instrumental simply and appropriately titled “Ki Ho’alu,” which is course is the Hawaiian term for “slack key.”  I probably first heard this song on the stellar “Pure Gabby” album – a must own – although it has appeared on other compilations and been covered by numerous slack key artists, including Ozzie Kotani’s excellent version.  My version is inspired by Gabby, Ozzie, and also Dennis Kamakahi who was prolific in the Mauna Loa tuning.  

Mauna Loa Slack Key

Here is my cover of “Mauna Loa Slack Key,” one of the relatively few surviving original songs from legendary slack key kupuna Fred Punahoa.  Though “Uncle” Fred never made a full album, he did make a notable appearance on the Waimea Music Festival album which features Mauna Loa Slack Key along with another of Fred’s originals, “Punahoa Special.”  Uncle Fred’s legacy also includes fostering amazing Big Island talents of the next generation such as Ledward Ka’apana and Sonny Lim.  Like the Punahoa Special, Mauna Loa Slack Key is an often covered song in the slack key world.  Hope you enjoy.

Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 10/11/07.

Bron-Yr-Aur (912ce)

Bron-Yr-Aur is probably my favorite Led Zeppelin acoustic song.  Written about a tranquil cottage in the Welsh countryside, the song is meditative and bucolic; it always puts me in a different place whenever I hear it or play it.  This version was recorded on my Taylor 912ce.

Opihi Moe Moe (Taylor 310ce)

Here’s a recently found cover I did of Leonard Kwan’s signature tune, Opihi Moe Moe. One of the most popular songs in the slack key repetoire, this song has been covered perhaps most prominently by Led Kaapana; in fact, Chet Atkins even recorded a version after hearing it from Leonard on a visit to Hawai’i. Notably, Leonard himself recorded several versions of this song including variations such as Opihi Bounce. Opihi Moe Moe is a fun song to play that lends itself to little variations, and everyone seems to bring something different to this deceptively simple song. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 1/4/2008.

Iris (912ce)

Here’s a version of my song Iris recorded on the 912ce.  Iris has a lot of harmonics, which creates a light, chimey atmosphere.  The 912 has a lot of resonance, echo and bloom (even moreso than the 412ce I previously recorded this with) which I thought would pair well with the cascade of harmonics in this song.  Hope you enjoy. 

Kaiminani Slack Key (Alt Take)

Here is an alternate take of my original slack key song, “Kaiminani Slack Key.”  The song is named for Kaiminani Drive in Kalaoa, North Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Kaiminani Drive is a main mauka-makai road that connects the Queen Kaahumanu and Mamalahoa highways (lower and upper roads, respectively).  It also runs through the Kona Palisades neighborhood where I lived for a number of years as  a child.  Back then, the neighborhood was less developed, and my friends and I would build tree houses and play in the vacant lots.  We could also watch the planes come and go at Kona International Airport at Keahole Point (KOA), and had easy access to then-uncrowded OTEC (Wawaloli) and Pine Trees (Kohanaiki) beaches.  Hope you enjoy.