This video features a collection of Ki Ho’alu a/k/a Hawaiian Slack Key guitar instrumental covers I have performed, recorded, and assembled here for your listening pleasure.These are songs by various slack key legends such as Gabby Pahinui, Ray Kane, Leonard Kwan, Keola Beamer, Fred Punahoa, Sonny Chillingworth, Atta Isaacs, Dennis Kamakahi, and Ledward Ka’apana – all slack key guitar masters who have been influential to me as well as many others.This compilation includes both energetic and relaxed tunes, 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.
“Meadows” is a slack key 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.Hope you enjoy.
Here’s a recently found recording where I’m improvising some ideas around Leonard Kwan’s classic slack key song Opihi Moemoe.One of the most popular songs in the slack key repertoire, this song has been covered by everyone from Ledward Kaapana to Chet Atkins.Opihi MoeMoe is a fun piece that lends itself well to improvised variations, and everyone seems to bring something a little different to this deceptively simple song.Hope you enjoy.
Here is a fingerstyle cover of “Every Breath You Take,” the hypnotic signature tune from The Police.Many stories surround the writing, recording, and subsequent success of the song – for example one interesting tidbit is that Sting apparently wrote the song while sitting at Ian Fleming’s writing desk on his famous Goldeneye estate in Jamaica.With its classic guitar part, “Every Breath” has a mellow / dreamy feel seemingly at odds with its borderline creepy lyrics – though some may find the song is a tad less sinister as an instrumental 🙂Hope you enjoy.
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.
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.
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.