Hawaiian Slack Key Tour
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar
Slack-key guitar is a fingerstyle genre of guitar music that originated in Hawaii.
Its name refers to its characteristic open tunings: the English term is a translation of the Hawaiian kī hō’alu, which means “loosen the [tuning] key”.
Most slack-key tunings can be achieved by starting with a classically tuned guitar and detuning or “slacking” one or more of the strings until the six strings form a single chord, frequently G major.
On March 30, Anthology will present a rare mainland concert featuring three masters of this style of music: Aaron Mahi, Georgo Kuo, & Martin Pahinui.
Aaron Mahi was the conductor of the Royal Hawaiian Band, the oldest and only full-time municipal band in the United States, for more then 24 years, between 1981 and 2005, and he was the conductor of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra from 1988 through 1995.
George Kuo has been a guitar master since winning a contest in 1979 at the age of 24.
He says his feeling is in the playing from the 1940s and prefers a nice relaxed, easy style.
“Not too much fancy stuff, keep it within the melody,” he says. “It’s more delivering a message than playing runs.”
Martin Pahinui is the son of legendary Gabby Pahinui and the brother of Hawaiian musicians Cyril Pahinui and James “Bla” Pahinui.
One of Hawaiian music’s most gifted vocalists, he has performed with a host of top artists, including his father’s legendary Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band, The Peter Moon Band, The Pahinui Brothers and slack key super group Hui Aloha.
He counts as two of his career highlights meeting Ringo Starr in Los Angeles and chatting with George Harrison on the phone when the shy, spiritual Beatle was living on Maui.
“He had a high respect for Hawaiian music,” Martin says, “He said he had all of my daddy’s records and a lot of other local artists. We invited him to our sessions but he said he didn’t want to interfere. I wish we could have gotten to play with him, but I can appreciate his feelings.”