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 ‘ said 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.
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 offered workshops and school programs for students of all kinds and musicians.
In 2017, Pahinui was selected a heritage fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Cyril Pahinui died on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.