George Kahumoku & Ledward Kaapana
Tonight's show offers a rare Midwestern appearance by two of the masters of the Hawaiian slack key guitar, playing the music that Hawaiians play among themselves. They'll perform togehter, and a pair of Hula dancers will be in attendance. George Kahumoku Jr. has been called Hawaii's Renaissance Man. A multiple Grammy and Hoku award winner, he offers an annual slack key guitar and ukulele workshop that is one of the great musical learning experiences in the Islands today, and the result of George's belief in sharing, celebrating, and perpetuating the unique music and culture that is Hawaii. George appears with Led Kaapana, who has been called the Grand Master of Hawaiian Slack Key. Led's mastery of stringed instruments and his extraordinary baritone and leo ki`eki`e (falsetto) voices have made him a musical legend. He has been thrilling audiences for more than 40 years. With an easygoing style and kolohe (rascal) charm, he has built a loyal corps of Led Heads from Europe to his birthplace on the Big Island of Hawaii. Like so many Hawaiians, Led grew up in a musical family. In the tiny black sand bay village of Kalapana, there were few distractions. "We didn't have electricity, no television, not even much radio," says Led. "So we entertained ourselves. You could go to any house and everybody was playing music." It was at these family gatherings that Led 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." This is a chance to hear Hawaiian music as it grew organically, below the mainland's commercial radar, and it's a real tonic for a Michigan winter.