Last weekend, November 7-8 2015, I saw the 7th Annual Seattle Slack Key Festival at Seattle Town Hall, and participated in the slack key guitar workshop at Dusty Strings music store here in the Fremont neighborhood.
At the workshop, about a dozen of us sat at the feet of several Hawaiian slack key masters. I watched them play music I had only heard before, and got to learn some of the tunings and techniques.
Below is a recording I made of the song Leahi. Before the song, there is a great explanation of the lyrics by Kamuela Kimokeo. In the video, left to right, that’s Peter Moon, ukelele, George Kuo, Cyril Pahinui, and Kamuela Kimokeo, guitars (not Kahuela, I’ll fix that typo).
At the Festival, I especially liked Jeff Peterson’s technical skills, his unique arrangements, and the sheer beauty of his playing. Kamuela’s group Hi’ikua played the most inspired set and brought the crowd to its feet a lot. Kamuela was an absolute madman on guitar, playing with the microphone, his elbow, and his teeth. The six-string solo bass playing of former Don Ho sideman Nathan Aweau was sensational too, but not really in the slack-key style.