If you’re staying at one of the West Oahu hotels, then be on the lookout for the newest addition to Hawaii’s music scene. The “Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival: West Side Pride” is the first of its kind for the leeward side, which includes the stretch from Nanakuli, to Makaha and beyond.
Many are saying it’s about time something like this come to their neck of the woods; for decades, this kanikapila style of jamming has been getting people moving and grooving to classic and contemporary Hawaiian tunes. Why not celebrate with a festival for everyone to enjoy, including tourists?
The free festival happens this Sunday and features slack key masters Ledward Kaapana and Dennis Kamakahi, as well as “Brother Noland” Conjugacion and John Cruz. For those not familiar with these names, they’re all local musicians who made names for themselves throughout the world and through their unique styles of music.
The spirit of the slack key has also traveled from the islands to places like, Japan. Two Japanese guitarists will be jamming alongside other local guitarists on Sunday. Agnes Kimura also just released a new album called “Nani Ahiahi.” Alani Yamauchi returns to Hawaii after attending a community college in here during the ‘70s. That’s also when he learned to play the slack key guitar.
Although there’s live music usually every night of the week, a festival like this will no doubt be the talk of the town. Especially for this side of town, which rarely gets this kind of entertainment. Usually tourists staying at the Aulani or Ko Olina have to drive an hour or two to Waikiki if they’re in search of live music. Now, music lovers of all ages can soothe their inner music cravings with just one afternoon of chill slack key tunes. Tourists can also absorb pieces of Hawaiian culture…through their ears!
Posted by: Bruce Fisher