Tag Archives: Hawaiian music

Artist Profiles: Taimane


Vocalist and ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner was born on February 13, 1989 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Taimane – which means “diamond” in Samoan – began playing the ukulele at age 5. At 13, while playing on the beach with local musicians, she was discovered by Hawaiian music icon Don Ho and invited to be part of his Waikiki variety show. There, she quickly became a weekly regular, attracting audiences with a mix of rock, flamenco, pop, classical and traditional Hawaiian melodies.

Under the guidance of modern ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, Taimane further focused her style and began composing music.


In 2019, she won the “2019 Favorite Entertainer of the Year Award” from Nā Hōkū Hanohano.


Loco Princess (BMG, 2005)
Life – The Art & Beauty of Being Human (Pony Canyon, 2008)
Ukulele Dance (Mountain Apple Company, 2012)
We Are Made of Stars (Taimane Gardner, 2015)
Elemental (Taimane Gardner, 2018)


Relaxing Guitar Instrumentals from Jim Kimo West

Jim Kimo West – Moku Maluhia: Peaceful Island

Jim Kimo West – Moku Maluhia: Peaceful Island (Westernmost Records, 2018)

Moku Maluhia: Peaceful Island presents a set of melodic solo guitar works by Hawaiian slack key guitarist Jim Kimo West. The tranquil instrumental tracks have  a deep Hawaiian flavor and nicely-crafted guitar overdubs.

Jim Kimo West uses various guitars and tunings described in the CD booklet.

Moku Maluhia: Peaceful Island celebrates the beauty of Hawaii, its landscapes, wildlife, the sea, rivers, tidepools and simpler life.

The album includes guest appearances by George Abe on shakuhachi flute and Simone Vitucci on cello.


Best Regional Roots Music Album 2018 Grammy Award Goes to Kalani Pe’a

Kalani Pea – No ‘Ane’i

No ‘Ane’i, the second album by Hawaiian singer-songwriter Kalani Pe’a is the 2018 Grammy Award in the category of Best Regional Roots Music. This category is dedicated to regional roots music within the United States.


Kreole Rock And Soul – Sean Ardoin
Spyboy – Cha Wa
Aloha From Na Hoa – Na Hoa
Mewasinsational – Cree Round Dance Songs – Young Spirit


Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Maestro Cyril Pahinui Dies at 68

Cyril Pahinui – Photo by Chelle Pahinui

Cyril Pahinui, one of Hawaii’s finest slack key guitar players died on November 17, 2018. He was 68 years old.

Cyril Pahinui participated in over 50 albums and recorded with a lot of Hawaii’s leading musicians. In 2017, Pahinui was designated a heritage fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, read his biography.


Recording Academy Announces 60th Annual Grammy Awards Nominees for Best Regional Roots Music Album

Dwayne Dopsie And The Zydeco Hellraisers – Top Of The Mountain

The Recording Academy announced last evening the recordings nominated for Best Regional Roots Music Album.

Best Regional Roots Music Album Nominees

Top Of The Mountain by Dwayne Dopsie And The Zydeco Hellraisers
Ho’okena 3.0 by Ho’okena
Kalenda by Lost Bayou Ramblers
Miyo Kekisepa, Make A Stand (Live) by Northern Cree
Pua Kiele by Josh Tatofi

The GRAMMY Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, live from Madison Square Garden in New York City and broadcast on the CBS Television Network from 7:30 – 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 4:30 – 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.


Artist Profiles: Ledward Ka’apana

Ledward Ka’apana

Ledward Ka’apana is a master of the art of Hawaiian slack-key guitar and widely regarded as one of its greatest innovators. He is also one of the Islands’ finest singers in the traditional falsetto style.

has recorded dozens of albums with his influential groups Hui Ohana and I Kona and with musicians ranging from Alison Krauss Ricky Skaggs and Sonny Landreth to his legendary Uncle Fred Punahoa.
One of the great ambassadors of Hawaiian music he has performed throughout the United States and Europe.

Ledward Ka’apana and Mike Kaawa joined forces to create one of the great collaborations in Hawaiian music.


Artist Profiles: Keola Beamer

Keola Beamer

Keola Beamer was born January 18, 1951 in Oahu, Honolulu County, Hawaii. Keola’s ‘ohana (family) was well equipped to nurture his musical interests. One of Hawaii’s best known musical clans the Beamers trace their roots back to the 15th century. Ancient ancestors include Big Island Queen Ahiakumai Ki’eki’e and Ho’olulu one of the kapu (sacred) twins born of Kame’eiamoku favored wife of Kamehameha Nui. More recent family members include composer and hula exponent Helen Desha Beamer (Keola’s great-grandmother) composer Pono Beamer (his grandfather) master teacher Louise LeiomAlama Beamer (his grandmother) falsetto singer and pianist Mahi Beamer (his cousin) and chanter and teacher Winona Beamer (his mother). Keola cites his family as his primary musical influence and consciously seeks to maintain its legacy.

Hawaiian society has always placed a high value on sound which has led to a strong commitment to preserving traditional musical forms and an equally powerful interest in the music of other cultures. Reflecting this duality Keola has crafted his style with elements of the ancient and the modern the indigenous and the introduced. On the one hand he actively champions Hawaiian forms that predate contact with Europeans. As illustrated by the pieces The Beauty of Mauna Kea and Pele Trilogy he loves the chant form and plays traditional instruments such as ‘ohe hano ihu (bamboo nose flute) and ‘ili’ili (lava stone castanets). Says Keola “For me as for most Hawaiians hula and chant connect the generations.”

On the other hand Keola was one of the first slack key masters to experiment with electronic effects multi-track recording complex chord progressions even innovative guitar construction. Keola attributes the controversy this sometimes causes to healthy aesthetic and generational differences. “I remember at fifteen sitting at the feet of Aunty Alice Namakelua and hearing her call Gabby Pahinui a radical,” related Keola. “Now he’s considered traditional. For me that’s the beauty of slack key. Who wants to be in an art form with no room for expression left in it?

In the 196s Keola studied at the Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu a hotbed of the emerging “Hawaiian Renaissance.” He also gained valuable experience performing with his mother who remains his favorite collaborator. Their most recent project a CD of stories and slack key entitled The Golden Lehua Tree (Starscape Music 96112) brings Hawaiian folklore to children and adults around the world.

In 1973 Keola released his groundbreaking solo album Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar in the Real Old Style (Music of Polynesia) and published the first slack key instruction book. In the 1970s Keola and his brother Kapono also formed The Beamer Brothers bringing slack key to the rock generation. Their mix of Hawaiiana and pop produced many Island standards including Keola’s best known original Honolulu City Lights. Through the 198s Keola continued his solo exploration of new musical territory while gaining inspiration from traditional music.

Keola’s first album on Dancing Cat Wooden Boat was released in 1994. Each of his Dancing Cat albums focuses on a different aspect of his art and is characterized by keen intelligence instrumental virtuosity and deep sensitivity to nature. “I’m pretty much a nature person,” Keola said. “Wherever we go my wife and I always pause and listen to the environment: the wind blowing through the hala leaves the water the birds. I get a lot of inspiration from those moments.” One such moment inspired Keola’s fourth album for Dancing Cat Kolonahe which centers on images of ka makani (the wind). Several songs in this recording make direct references to wind an important image in Hawaiian music while others incorporate subtle musical allusions to it.

In Hawai’i the creative impulse usually stems from a pleasurable experience. The concept for Kolonahe came to Keola one afternoon on Maui. “I was out in a distant valley sitting under some hau trees enjoying the space the quiet when all of a sudden the most beautiful refreshing breeze came through. It caressed everything in its path: the trees the grass the stones. It changed the whole complexion of that day. At a time like that how can you feel anything other than peace in your heart? Music is like that too. You can’t see the kolonahe but you can feel its presence. It brings something beautiful into our lives.”

In high school and college Beamer studied classical guitar and later when he began to teach guitar he published the first method book for his instrument. Around the same time in 1972 he recorded his first landmark solo album Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar in the Real Old Style filled with the nahenahe (soft and sweet) sound of this Hawaiian tradition. To this day this album continues to influence many guitarists.

Mutual fans of one another’s musical careers Keola Beamer and R. Carlos Nakai met when Nakai was organizing a workshop at Kalani Honua in Hawaii. Nakai wanted to include Hawaiian culture in the workshop and Beamer offered his services. Nakai who has brought the traditional Native American flute into new musical genres including jazz new age and classical constantly seeks new collaborators and new musical worlds to explore. Therefore it was natural that he would approach Beamer to see if he would be interested in doing a musical collaboration mixing disparate cultures. The result isOur Beloved Land.

Our Beloved Land features the sound of the Native American flute accompanied by the harmonies of the slack key guitar. Several songs also feature Beamer’s soulful vocal renditions of original and traditional Hawaiian songs.


Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar in the Real Old Style (1972)
Keola and Kapono Beamer (1976)
Honolulu City Lights (1978)
Sweet Maui Moon (1989)
Wooden Boat (1994)
Moe’uhane Kika – Tales from the Dream Guitar (Dancing Cat Records, 1995)
The Golden Lehua Tree (narrated by Nona Beamer) (1996)
Mauna Kea – White Mountain Journal (1997)
Kolohane – From the Gentle Wind (1999)
Island Born (2001)
Ka Leo O Loko – Soliloquy (Dancing Cat Records, 2002)
Mohala Hou – Music of the Hawaiian Renaissance (2003)
Ki Ho’alu (Loosen the Key) DVD (2003)
Our Beloved Land (with R. Carlos Nakai) (2005)
Keola Beamer & Raiatea (2010)
Kahikina O Ka Hau (The Coming of the Snow) (2011)
Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love) (2012)


Artist Profiles: Keali’i Reichel

Keali’i Reichel

Born and raised on Maui, Hawaii, Reichel spent weekends and summers at his grandmother’s house where he learned about the native songs music language and culture of Hawaii.

Reichel later founded his own halau hula (hula school) called Halau Hula o ka Makani Wili Makaha o Kaua’ula. With his knowledge of traditional Hawaiian music and songs Reichel embarked on a career in music with his debut recording Kawaipunahele (the favorite waters) in 1994. The album sold more copies than any Hawaiian music release in history and received five 1995 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaii’s version of the Grammys).

The enormous popularity of his later releases Lei Hali’a (lei of fond memories) E O Mai (to acknowledge respond) and Melelana (lullaby) confirmed his reputation as one of Hawaii’s favorite artists.

Over the years Reichel has shared the beauty of Hawaiian music with audiences around the world performing at venues throughout Japan Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl and opening for artists such as Bonnie Raitt Sting and Celine Dion.

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) presented Keali’i with gold record status for Kawaipunahele. This is the first gold record for a predominately Hawaiian-language album.

Keali’i retains his initial goal of presenting new compositions in the Hawaiian language for hula students and works to dispel long-held stereotypes of Hawaii’s living culture and her indigenous people.


Kawaipunahele (Punahele Productions, 1994)
Lei Haliʻa (Punahele Productions, 1995)
ʻE O Mai (Punahele Productions, 1997)
Melelana (Punahele Productions, 1999)
Keʻalaokamaile (Punahele Productions, 2003)
Kawaiokalena (Punahele Productions, 2014)


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 ‘ 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.

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 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.


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)


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