2011 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Recipient, Ledward Kaapana is Hawaii’s premier master Slack Key guitarist. His inventiveness and fluidity, his versatility in multiple tunings, and his playfulness on stage, make him the leading master of this art, now recognized nationally by America's most prestigious award for the arts.
Led has been a professional musician for over 40 years. His mastery of stringed instruments and extraordinary baritone and leo ki
ekie (falsetto) voice have made him a musical legend. His easy-going style and charm have made him a favorite of audiences throughout the world.
Led grew up in a musical family in the tiny village of Kalapana, there were few distractions and everyone played music. It was at the frequent family gatherings that Led learned to play in the old style, watching, listening, then imitating. Chief among his teachers were his mother, Mama Tina Kaapana, and his uncle Fred Punahoa.
As teenagers, Led and his twin brother Ned and cousin Dennis Pavao formed the Hui
Ohana, one of the hottest groups of the 70s and 80s and now legendary among Hawaiian musicians. The 70s saw the blossoming of the Hawaiian Renaissance, and HuiOhana was a key part of that return to traditional Hawaiian culture and music. Young Hawaii Sings Old Hawaii, the title of their first recording, was also their statement of purpose.
The group produced 14 best-selling albums and made countless hundreds of live appearances, proudly sharing Kalapana's musical traditions.
Led later formed another trio, I Kona, releasing 6 albums with that group, including Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, Jus' Press. He has also released solo albums, including two Na Hoku Hanohano Instrumental Album of the Year winners, Lima Wela and Black Sand, the latter of which was recorded on George Winston’s Dancing Cat Records. Led also recorded Led Live, Waltz of the Wind, Kila Kila Meets Kihoalu, and others on Dancing Cat..
In 2006, Led’s Kiho'alu-Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar was nominated for the 48th GRAMMY Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album and won the 2006 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. Led was featured on three compilation CDs winning Grammy Awards for Best Hawaiian Music. His solo Grandmaster Slack Key and Force of Nature (with Mike Kaawa) received Grammy nominations and Force of Nature also earned Led & Mike the Favorite Entertainer Award at the 2009 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. His newest recording is The Legend.
Led tours the US extensively. When home in Hawaii, he can be found on Sunday evenings at Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii Kai or once a month on Maui playing at George Kahumoku’s Slack Key Show.
Known as Hawaii's Renaissance Man, George Kahumoku Jr, is a multiple Grammy & Hoku Award winning master Slack Key Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, performer, teacher, artist and sculptor, story-teller and writer, farmer and entrepreneur. George is known for playing slack key on a jumbo12-string guitar because he loves the full sound and the lower bass tones. He uses a custom Art Davis guitar, and since beginning the Slack Key Show seven years ago, has changed his favorite tuning from E flat to F to make it easier to play with others.
In October 2003, George co-created the first venue ever dedicated to presenting Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. First located at the Ritz Carlton-Kapalua, then moving to Maui's Napili Kai Beach Resort where it is now. The first show CD, produced from live recordings of the show, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 1: Live in Concert from Maui won the 48th Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Album. The 4 of the 5 sequels to this recording were all nominated, 3 of them winning Grammies.
A renowned story-teller on and off the stage, George collaborated with long-time friend, Paul Konwiser, to write down his entertaining semi-autobiographical short stories into his first book of short stories: A Hawaiian Life. George lives on Maui, directing and teaching at the new Institute of Hawaiian Music at the University of Hawaii-Maui College. George spends his free time maintaining his small 3 acre farm growing fruit and vegetables, dry-land taro (for his famous home-made poi) and tending his goats, chickens, ducks, and miniature horses. True to his Hawaiian heritage, wherever he goes, George always brings bundles of fresh produce to share with friends and students.
Every summer in June, George Kahumoku Jr.'s Annual Maui Slack Key Guitar and Ukulele Workshop takes place featuring the finest music instructors. This workshop is one of the great musical experiences in the Islands today, and the result of George's belief in sharing, celebrating and perpetuating Hawaiian culture and music.
Peter was born and raised on the island of Maui. He began playing ukulele at the age of 6. Later he studied ukulele with Keoki Kahumoku and Herb Ohta Jr. Other important influences include all the masters of Hawaiian Slack Key guitar with whom he has played regularly for the last 8 years, including Ledward Kaapana and others, also Bradda IZ & Bob Marley. Peter now plays professionally around Maui both solo and in groups: Dukes-Kaanapali (Three Pounds of Poi), Kimo's-Lahaina (deAquino Braddaz), The Hula Grill (leading the band TBA), and the Hard Rock Café (Sounds of Addiction). Peter is featured on all four of the Slack Key Show’s Grammy winning compilation CDs: Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, vol.1, Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, vol.2, and also on the Grammy nominated Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. Peter is featured in a new DVD: The Best of the Slack Key Show, Vol. 1
Born and raised on Maui, Sterling showed an early talent for the guitar. At Lahainluna High School, Sterling would practice in between classes and to jam with Uncle George Kahumoku (who was the ceramics teacher) at lunch time. After attending Uncle George's Annual Summer Workshop in Napili and studying with the slack key masters, Sterling took a particular interest in Slack Key C Tuning. Sterling is the Slack Key Show sound engineer as well as a performer, and also works as a light & sound technician at the Ulalena show in Lahaina. Sterling is featured on the Slack Key Show’s Grammy award winning CDs, Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, vol.2, and Grammy nominated Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. Sterling is featured in a new DVD: The Best of the Slack Key Show, Vol. 1.
Telling the story with graceful movement and hula hands, Wainani has loved dancing all her life. Born in Honolulu, she relocated and danced for many years on the Big Island where she joined the hula school, Halau Na Lei O Ka Holoku, led by Kumu Hula Nani Lim Yap and Leialoha Amina.
Wainani traveled nationally and internationally with Lim’s Halau sharing hula with the world while developing her considerable talent in dance, chanting, and Hawaiian culture.
Wainani now lives on Maui and, in addition to regularly dancing for Slack Key Master, Ledward Kaapana, she has danced for many years at the Royal Lahaina Resort as a soloist and as an Oli Mea (chanter) for Maui Nei Cultural Walking Tour. She was one of the principal dancer for George Kahumoku’s Hawaiian Country Music Show in Branson, Missouri in 2012 and has now become a regular dancer at George Kahumoku Jr’s Slack Key Show.
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