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.
Years back I was working on some turnaround ideas when I wrote “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. Kona’s world famous fishing was also brought to mind frequently by my landlord at the time I wrote this song, a local fish boat captain named Chuck. Hope you enjoy.
For your listening pleasure here is a collection of Ki Ho’alu a/k/a Hawaiian Slack Key guitar instrumentals. This compilation includes both energetic and relaxed tunes, though I’d say the overall vibe is relaxing. I like to listen to some 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 a demo of a song called Kuakini Slack Key, named after Kuakini Highway (which was in turn named after former governor of Hawai’i island and builder of Hulihe’e Palace, John Adams Kuakini). I wrote this in a friends’ condo which was off Kuakini, not far from Palani Road and the Kailua pier. As a kid, I also lived for several years in a home farther south that was just off Kuakini.
This is one of the few recordings done with a Larrivee parlor guitar I used to own – a rosewood / spruce P-09, which I have since sold. There’s also a fun little manual fade at the end. Hope you enjoy.
Here is an alternate take of my song “Banyan” (a/k/a “Banyans,” or “Banyan Tree Slack Key”), a slack key style song I wrote years ago on nylon string guitar. I used to play my gut string ‘beach’ guitar (an old Ibanez) around beaches and surf spots in Kona like Magic Sands, Banyans, and Old Airport. So I guess this song is partially named after the surf spot, but also after some banyan trees near Magic Sands – some of which have since been cut down – or even majestic banyan trees in general. Hope you enjoy.
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.
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.
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.