The story of Cindy Combs begins in San Diego, meanders around the globe to places as far away as the Canary Islands (Spain) off the coast of Africa, pauses on O’ahu, and rests finally on the Garden Isle of Kaua’i, the setting for her latest CD, Sunny Rain.
Born in San Diego, Cindy was a seasoned world traveler by the time she reached Hawaii at age ten, and she already knew how to read music, having grown up in an extremely musical family. “My parents and my sister and I played the piano. “My dad played the clarinet and the harmonica. I was listening to their records of Johnnie Mathis, Connie Francis, even Doris Day!” Cindy cites early influences like Joni Mitchell to Joan Baez, but has always strived to maintain her own unique sound throughout her career.In the ‘70s, she began taking Slack Key guitar lessons from the legendary Keola Beamer. She soon started gigging regularly and continued doing so in O’ahu and then Kaua’I, where she ended up moving. In 1990, her composition “I Love Kaua’I” was recorded by Jerry Santos on his 1989 release, Expecting Friends, which became Na Hoku Hanohano Awards’ “Album of the Year” in 1990. “I Love Kaua’i” was a finalist for Song of the Year.
In 1994, Cindy was gigging at the Hanapepe Café, and she met George Winston who set her up in the acoustically perfect Waimea Foreign Church in Waimea, Kaua’i for what she calls The “Stone Church” sessions. These sessions coupled with others over the next six years, led to the release of Slack Key Lady, her first Dancing Cat album in 2001.
Today, Cindy continues her gig at the Hanapepe Café, and she continues composing and arranging. Having toured in 2004 with Cyril Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi, late 2007 will see her on the road again. Touring with Owana Salazar and Brittni Paiva, the three will be billed as ‘The Ladies of Slack Key’.
2007 also brings release. It is a musical expression of the passage of a day, from when the rising sun lights up the falling rain, to the putting of the children to sleep with a lullaby. The album is a tribute to her unique style, showcasing her great arrangements of several Hawaiian classics and composers, as well as five of her original compositions.
It is Cindy at her best: Rich, deep, nuanced and passionate. “A life lived well is a life filled with aloha,” she muses, “and Slack Key is an expression of that aloha. I sincerely hope my music reaches out to the listener and that it touches their heart as it has touched mine…bringing hope, healing, peace, and joy.”
Buy Sunny Rain.
Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central