The restless crowd.The slit in the speaker cone.The distortion.The rock glory.One of the most influential guitar songs ever, the story of Link Wray’s “Rumble” is the stuff of legend.I’ve always loved the song, and have covered it on guitar (and taught it as a guitar teacher), but something made me want to try it on uke to see if some of the attitude would still filter through – regardless of the instrument.I think it does.Hope you enjoy.
The Bantry Girl’s Lament is a traditional Celtic song which dates back to the early 1800’s.The ‘lament’ is for the soldiers who were called off to fight in the Napoleonic wars, but I find the melody is more wistful than maudlin.My fingerstyle version is based on Martin Simpson’s version from his fine album “Leaves of Life.”While Martin used a Drop D tuning for the song (or rather its equivalent on Baritone guitar), I play it here in open G6: (D-G-D-G-B-E).To me, this is a peaceful, meditative song that gives pause.Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.
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 an alternate take of the Bach Cello Prelude (BWV 1007) on guitar.I fell in love with the Pablo Casals recordings of the Bach cello suites a few years back.The prelude to the first suite is oft adapted for guitar, but it’s still a great piece to play.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.
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.