Tag Archives: Hawaiian music

Artist Profiles: Cyril Pahinui

Cyril Pahinui – Photo by Chelle Pahinu

 

Cyril Pahinui grew up in Hawaii, in the small town of Waimanalo at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains on O’ahu’s Windward coast. His father Philip “Gabby” Pahinui was Hawaii’s best known and most influential Slack Key guitarist famous for his beautiful and innovative guitar playing his soulful vocals and his charismatic personality. ‘Dad always said “Stick to your Hawaiian music you can play other music too but stick with playing Hawaiian music.” I followed his advice and I am more and more thankful every year that I did ‘ says Cyril. ‘The things my dad did for me opened doors. He paved the road for me and that road even brought me to Carnegie Hall two times.’

Cyril played in several bands with family members including the all star group  known as The Gabby Band (comprised of Cyril and his father, brothers Bla Phillip and Martin as well as Joe Gang Kupahu, Leland “Atta” Isaacs and Sonny Chillingworth) and The Peter Moon Band that featured his brother Martin as well.

Cyril Pahinui – Photo by Chelle Pahinu

 

In 1992 Cyril joined his brothers Bla and Martin to record the Pahinui Brothers album The Pahinui Bros. and also began recording for Dancing Cat Records as a solo performer. His debut release on Dancing Cat 6 & 12 String Slack Key won the 1994 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

Cyril offers workshops and school programs for students of all kinds and musicians.

Discography:

The Pahinui Bros. (Private Music, 1992)

6 & 12 String Slack Key (Dancing Cat Records, 1994)

Night Moon – Po Mahina (Dancing Cat Records, 1998)

Four Hands Sweet & Hot (Dancing Cat Records, 1999)

Ka Ho’oilina Mau (Tropical Music 1999)

He’eia (Dancing Cat Records, 2007)

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Kalani Pe’a Wins Best Regional Roots Music Album Grammy Award

Kalani Pe’a – E Walea

E Walea (Kalani Pe’a Music) by Hawaiian artist Kalani Pe’a is the winenr of the Best Regional Roots Music Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.

The other finalists were:

Broken Promised Land (Swallow Records) – Barry Jean Ancelet & Sam Broussard
It’s A Cree Thing (Canyon Records) – Northern Cree
Gulfstream (Octavia Records) – Roddie Romero And The Hub City All-Stars
I Wanna Sing Right: Rediscovering Lomax In The Evangeline Country (Valcour Records) – (Various Artists); Joshua Caffery & Joel Savoy, producers

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Artist Profiles: Barney Isaacs

Barney Isaacs

Alvin Kalanikau “Barney” Isaacs, Jr. was one of Hawaii’s leading steel guitarists. Barney grew up in a musical family that included his father, composer and band leader Alvin Kaleolani Isaacs, Sr., and two brothers, slack key master Leland “Atta” Isaacs and multi-instrumentalist Norman Isaacs.

Barney remembered being exposed to music from the time he was small. “We had a big house and music was there all the time. Our dad had a dance band that rehearsed on the premises. They played all kinds of music, not just Hawaiian.” Alvin, Sr. actively encouraged his ten children to play. He taught Barney, Atta and Norman the rudiments of steel guitar while they were still in elementary school. “When my dad noticed that we were always playing together, he suggested we form a trio,” Barney recalled. When the trio was formed, they had to spread out.

As the oldest, I got to pick first, so I stayed with the steel.” Atta went to the guitar and Norman played the bass. “We could sing parts and everything. At that time Hawaiian music was very danceable fox trots, waltzes. We were always trying to keep up, learn as much as we could from the older guys and each other. Pua Almeida, Jules Ah See, the Kalimas, they were all our age. Jules’ steel playing probably had the most influence on me. He could really make it sing. He had so many styles and different tunings. He was so adept at picking things up, but he never lost his own recognizable sound.”

Alvin, Sr. was a very popular band leader and composer, and in 1948 Barney accepted a position in his father’s group, the acclaimed Royal Hawaiian Serenaders. “It couldn’t have been a better place to start – in the Monarch Room at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel with that group – my father, Benny Kalama, George Kainapau. They were really terrific.” From the late 194os, Barney was one of Hawaii’s most multifaceted and active performers, and a traveling ambassador of the steel guitar. He spent 25 years with the Hawaii Calls radio show and enjoyed long collaborations with Alfred Apaka, Danny Kaleikini and his own groups at various nightspots.

Also active behind the scenes, Barney served as the musical director for Waikiki Records in the 1950s and even managed his own club, The Palm Tree Inn, turning it into one of the most important musicians’ hangout. Barney’s father was well-known for the large musical gatherings he liked to hold at his house in Kalihi. Following his father’s example, Barney loved to bring musicians together to socialize and perform for their own enjoyment. He also taught and served on the governing board of the major steel guitar societies.

Barney’s recording credits number in the hundreds, including trailblazing electric steel and slack key duets in the 1950s with Gabby Pahinui and Atta Isaacs, accompanied by a rhythm section on Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volumes 1 and 2 (Waikiki Records 319 & 320) that were the spiritual predecessors for Barney’s Dancing Cat release Hawaiian Touch. During the recording sessions, Barney said that he felt a special aloha for that project. “The acoustic steel is the instrument I started on,” he said. “Believe it or not, this was the first time I ever recorded on it.”

Barney Isaacs passed away in 1996.

Discography:

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1 (Waikiki Records 319)
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2 (Waikiki Records 320)
E’Mau (MKH Productions, 1995)
Hawaiian Touch (Dancing Cat / Windham Hill Records, 1995)

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Twangy Feel-Good Hooks

 Southpaw Steel'n'Twang - "Stat(u)e of Mind" (Bafe’s Factory, 2015)

Southpaw Steel’n’Twang – “Stat(u)e of Mind” (Bafe’s Factory, 2015)

Finnish trio Southpaw Steel’n’Twang delivers another superb set of musical pieces inspired by American roots music. The signature sound of the band is based on pedal and lap steel guitars performed by maestro Ville “Lefty” Leppänen. On this occasion Leppänen also uses the regular electric guitar more often.

On “Stat(u)e of Mind”, the power trio display a mix of blues, western swing, country, Hawaiian, rock and roll, jazz, a zany song about water and more. The majority of the album was recorded in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States.

The lineup on the album includes Ville “Lefty” Leppänen on steel, resonator and electric guitars and vocals; JP Mönkkönen on bass, acoustic and baritone guitars; and Tero Mikkonen on drums, percussion, ukulele and haw-ho. Guests include Jouko Aramo on trombone; Pekka Grohn on keyboards; Jermu Koivukoski on trumpet; Perttu Pannula on saxophone.

“Stat(u)e of Mind” will delight fans of the twangy guitar sound with its feel-good hooks and retro Americana vibes.

Buy Stat(u)e of Mind

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Canyon Records Receives Three Indian Summer Music Awards

R. Carlos Nakai – Our Beloved Land

Phoenix (Arizona), USA – Three Indian Summer Music Awards (ISMA) were awarded to Canyon Records’ artists and albums. The 3rd Annual Indian Summer Music Awards were presented at the Indian Summer Festival where the winners were announced on Saturday, September 9th, 2006.

The ISMA are devoted to the recognition of both established and emerging artists for their outstanding contributions toward indigenous people’s music. In addition the awards were created to increase awareness of the history and diversity of both traditional and contemporary American Indian culture. This year’s winners include:

This year’s finalists include:

Canyon Records, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona has produced and distributed traditional and contemporary Native American music for 55 years.

For more information on Canyon visit: www.canyonrecords.com

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