Here is an alternate take of “Punahoa Special,” this one recorded with a Telefunken M60 microphone.Punahoa Special is a signature showpiece of legendary slack key master Fred Punahoa.This is a song I was fortunate enough to learn directly from Led Ka’apana, one that Led had in turn learned directly from Fred himself.Though Fred Punahoa never made a full album under his own name, he did make a notable appearance on the Waimea Music Festival album, in addition to fostering amazing talents of the next generation such as Led and Sonny Lim.“Punahoa Special” is an often covered song in the slack key canon, and might also be the most popular song in Mauna Loa slack key tuning.Hope you enjoy.
This solo ukulele piece pays tribute to the mellow vibes of one of the best little neighborhoods in Hawai’i, that area between Waikiki and Kapiolani Park, Kapahulu and Diamond Head, running from the Honolulu Zoo to Kapiolani Community College and the back side of Diamond Head (where it turns into Diamond Head Road) is Monsarrat Avenue.There are so many little things to love on (or just off) Monsarrat: the Honolulu Zoo and its fence with local artists selling their wares, the wafting of music from the Kapiolani Bandstand or the Waikiki Shell, Kapiolani Park itself with the powerful beauty of Leahi, Diamond Head, in the background, nearby is the peaceful enclave of Diamond Head Community Garden with its rectangular patches of lovingly tended vegetables and plants… Next is a lovely little district of restaurants and shops – Bogart’s (Breakfast Potatoes!), South Shore Grill (Fish Tacos!), Da Cove (Acai Bowls!), and several other places to get Sushi and other grinds, Open Space Yoga, Paul’s Barber Shop, Diamond Head Market and Grill, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.After that, rows of Kaimuki homes with people riding their bikes on the side streets as Monsarrat Avenue meanders and changes name to Diamond Head Road; it then passes by Kapiolani Community College – home of a popular (crowded) weekly Farmer’s Market – and curls around the back side of Diamond Head.
Here’s an alternate take of Keola Beamer’s Mino’aka (Smile), from his awesome Soliloquy album. Soliloquy is one of my favorite Dancing Cat era albums from Keola and a highly recommended listen. Keola’s book is one of the first I picked up when I really delved into the slack key style years ago, and this was one of my favorite songs featured in the book. In fact, I also recommend Keola’s book for beginner to intermediate fingerstyle players who are looking to learn some slack key. Although the version I recorded here is at a slightly faster tempo, I hope it still captures the original’s relaxed feel. Hope you enjoy.
For your listening pleasure here is another collection of Ki Ho’alu a/k/a Hawaiian Slack Key guitar instrumentals.This compilation is an alternate mix from another one recently posted on my other channel (Blue Sky Guitar), and includes a few classic chestnuts – or rather, kukui nuts maybe – as well as original songs.The songs here are both energetic and relaxed, though I’d say the overall vibe is relaxing.I like to listen tosome of those longer “relaxing music” videos while working on the computer and became inspired to produce some videos featuring my own performances.Hope you enjoy.
Here is another version – this one recorded on a nylon string guitar – of my song “Slippery Slack Key.”Also known as the “Slippery Fish Slack Key,” this is a fast paced and fun to play slack key song that saw various incarnations in my set a few years back.The slippery runs were inspired in part by the fish in the waters off Kailua-Kona.Hope you enjoy.
“Meadows” is an original song I wrote during a full moon in Kailua-Kona.I think the song was influenced by the night air and night sounds – the occasional chirp of geckos, the distant sounds of traffic on Mamalahoa Highway and the waves in the ocean.This version was probably recorded within a year of when I wrote it.Hope you enjoy.
Here is an alternate take of “Makalawena,” an original song I named after a charmingly beautiful and relatively isolated beach on the Kona Coast.Makalawena is part of that long stretch of white sandy beaches you see right before landing at Kona International Airport at nearby Keahole Point.The beach is generally accessible via a short hike from the neighboring Mahaiʻula Bay section of Kekaha Kai State Park.I remember camping out at Makalawena as a kid, exploring the rare anchialine ponds with their delicate red shrimp, and swimming in the waters of the bay.Today still, the neighboring marsh is a protected nesting ground, home to rare birds such as the Hawaiian coot.The song’s bridge seems to capture the strange sense of converging energies that I feel in special places such as these.Hope you enjoy.