It’s been an age since I posted, mostly because I was on Maui over New Years, unplugged for the most part and not at all inclined to blog.
So I’ll ease back into it, with some music to start of your new year. While on Maui I bought a bunch of slack key guitar records by the likes of Sonny Lim and George Kahumoku Jr. Slack key guitar is a Hawai’ian style that originated with the Mexican paniolo cowboys that helped establish ranching in the early 20th century across the Hawai’ian islands. These dudes brought their Mexican cowboy guitar styles, and left them in the hands of Hawai’ians who started messing with the tuning by slacking keys and playing in open tunings. After that, stylistic innovations followed with a rhythm line kept on the lower three strings and the melody plucked out of the high strings.
As I was travelling with family, I didn’t get to hear much of this music live, but we did catch one performance at a hula in Ka’anapali with a great young slack key player whose name escapes me. To give you a sense of this laid back and lovely style of music, here’s an mp3 by slack key masters George Kuo and Barney Isaacs (who is playing slide) from their album Hawaiian Touch.
PS…for more great streaming island sounds, with a preponderance of “Jawaiian” reggae sounds combined with some hula, slack key and traditional stuff, tune into the Maui’s local radio station now online at KPOA.com. Make sure you tune in on Fridays especially to hear the repeated playings of “Aloha Friday (full mp3)” and dig the other novelty numbers such as Kupa’Aina’s “Overload on Automation (m3u clip)” and High Risk Factor’s too-serious-it’s-funny “Chillaxin’ (mp3 clip)” song.