Masters of Hawaiian Music
Three Masters, featured regularly at Maui’s renowned “Slack Key Show®” share Hawai‘i’s unique guitar styles, with origins in paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture. Four-time Grammy-winner, master slack key guitarist George Kahumoku Jr. – “wonderful composer, songwriter, vocalist, and storyteller” (George Winston). Talented award-winning multi-instrumentalist Nathan Aweau, renowned for 8-string electric bass and velvet vocals–“…advanced understanding of harmony and orchestration…his singing style is effortless” (NY Times). Guitarist and singer Kawika Kahiapo, award-winner for slack key and island music, a regular at Jack Johnson’s Kokua Fests. “Talented slack key…broad musical horizons” (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
George Kahumoku Jr.
Known as Hawaii’s Renaissance Man, George Kahumoku Jr, is a multiple Grammy & Hoku Award winning master Slack Key Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, performer, teacher, artist and sculptor, story-teller and writer, farmer and entrepreneur. George is known for playing slack key on a jumbo12-string guitar because he loves the full sound and the lower bass tones. He uses a custom Art Davis guitar, and since beginning the Slack Key Show seven years ago, has changed his favorite tuning from E flat to F to make it easier to play with others.
In October 2003, George co-created the first venue ever dedicated to presenting Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. First located at the Ritz Carlton-Kapalua, then moving to Maui’s Napili Kai Beach Resort where it is now. The first show CD, produced from live recordings of the show, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 1: Live in Concert from Maui won the 48th Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Album. The 4 of the 5 sequels to this recording were all nominated, 3 of them winning Grammies.
A renowned story-teller on and off the stage, George collaborated with long-time friend, Paul Konwiser, to write down his entertaining semi-autobiographical short stories into his first book of short stories: A Hawaiian Life.
Nathan was born into a musical family, his grandparents could play various instruments as well as performing with a band, his mom a piano player and his father for many years taught music and was a choir director as well as a Polynesian music teacher at various high schools.
In 1983, during his college years, he started his professional career accompanying performers such as Gabe Baltazar, Henry Kapono, Loyal Garner and Nohelani Cypriano to name a few. He was a member of the Hoku award winning group, Ka’eo, as well as with the award winning group The Ali’i’s. He also did a 16 year stint with the legendary Don Ho. He’s done various high school and college level seminars, covering subjects from writing, arranging and sequencing to computer music.
In 2001, Nathan released a c.d. called “E Apo Mai”, which garnered him a couple of awards. One was for “Male Vocalist of the Year”, “Song of the Year” and “Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year”. A few years after, he released a Jazz cd called “Bass Etude”, which focused on the electric bass…this project was honored as “Jazz Album of the Year”.
From 2003-2010, Nathan was a member of Hapa. In 2005 they released an album called “Maui” which shot up the Billboard Magazine’s World Music chart, and peaking at number 7. The following year Hapa went home with 4 out of 6 Hoku Awards.
In December 2008 Nathan released his long awaited follow up to “E Apo Mai”, called “Kane’ohe”. This c.d. is focused on songs which celebrate the place that Nathan calls home. He wrote all twelve songs, played every instrument, sang all the background parts, engineered, mixed and mastered the entire cd.
Though now living in beautiful Waimānalo, Kawika grew up in the small town of Kane`ohe on the windward side of O`ahu. One cannot think about the windward side without images of the breathtaking Ko`olau mountain range, lush, green valleys and the magnificent ocean views. Born to Samuel (Uncle Sam) and Josephine (Aunty Jo) Kahiapo, Kawika is the 5th of 6 children. Kawika’s interest in music began at an early age, when, inspired by his father, he spent many hours alone in his room strumming along. Some of his fondest memories are of their “garage” jam sessions, when “Pops” Gabby Pahinui would show up with his guitar and bottle of vodka. This is what inspired Kawika’s passion for ki ho`alu (slack-key guitar). Today, Kawika continues to perpetuate the art of ki ho`alu in his sound recordings and annually at Slack Key Festivals. He was honored as the 2007 Na Hoku Hanohano Slack Key Artist of the year.
Kawika’s first solo recording project, “ALANA”, emerged in 1996 and continues to captivate many with it’s soothing combination of contemporary and traditional Hawaiian tunes, along with ki ho`alu. Through the years, hula halau have been dancing to the music on this recording, as well as his second solo release, “ONE HEART/ONE VOICE”, which was released in 2000. Both projects share his mana`o (feelings) in Kawika’s unique way. Kawika was then a member of “Kaukahi”, who received three awards at the prestigious 2007 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. They were awarded Group of the Year, Song of the Year for Kawika’s “Life in These Islands”, which is the title cut and name of their debut CD, and Kawika’s son, Dalen Kahiapo, and Todd Schlosser of Worldsound, were presented the Award for CD graphics! Kawika was also been honored to be featured on Grammy Award Winning CD, “Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key.” He also was awarded with two more Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 2015 for his all slack key, mostly instrumental CD, “Ho’omaluhia”, and his “Ku’u ‘Aina Aloha” CD, which features his song titled “Waimanalo.”