Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 1:39 am | Fair 65º


Slack Key Guitarist Ka’apana Strumming at SOhO

Led Ka'apana, a master of the slack key guitar, has been one of Hawaii's most influential musicians for four decades. He will be performing at 8 p.m. July 11 at SOhO Restaurant and Music Club, 1221 State St., Santa Barbara.

Led Ka’apana Click to view larger
Led Ka’apana

Ka'apana is known for his mastery of stringed instruments, his picking style on slack key guitar and 'ukulele, and his baritone to leo ki`eki`e (falsetto) vocal range.

With an easy-going style and kolohe (rascal) charm, Ka'apana has built a loyal corps of “Led heads” from Brussels to his birthplace on the Big Island of Hawaii.

In 2011, he was honored with an NEA National Heritage Fellowship for his artistic excellence and his contributions to the nation's traditional arts heritage.

Recognition by his peers earned Ka'apana four Grammy nominations in his own right and three wins on slack key compilations. He has won multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano (Hawaii’s Grammy) awards, including Favorite Entertainer of the Year in 2009.

It was at family gatherings that Ka'apana learned to play in the old style, watching, listening, then imitating. Chief among his teachers were his mother, Mama Tina Kaapana, and his uncle Fred Punahoa.

"Even today when I play, I still picture all the `ohana (family) getting together and sharing their songs and their aloha," he said.

As teenagers, Ka'apana, his twin brother Ned and cousin Dennis Pavao formed the Hui Ohana, one of the hottest groups of the 1970s and '80s and now legendary among Hawaiian musicians.

The '70s saw the blossoming of the Hawaiian Renaissance, and Hui Ohana was a key part of that return to traditional Hawaiian culture and music.

Young Hawaii Plays Old Hawaii, the title of their first recording, was also their statement of purpose.The group produced 14 best-selling albums and made hundreds of live appearances, proudly sharing Kalapana's musical traditions.

Ka'apana later formed another trio, Ikona, releasing six albums with that group, including Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, Jus' Press.

He also has released a number of solo albums, including two Na Hoku Hanohano Instrumental Album of the Year winners, Lima Wela and Black Sand.

Ki Ho`alu, Hawaiian Slack Key,  Grandmaster Slack Key and Force of Nature (with Mike Kaawa) received Grammy nominations.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. The performance is suitable for all ages. Call 962-7776 ext. 6 for reservations.

— Kirk Reed for SOhO.


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