Na lima `uhane a pu`uwai -- "Heart and soul through the fingers" -- is the credo of George Kahumoku, Jr.'s slack-key and `ukulele workshops. This seventeenth year continues the tradition, with globally honored performers and recording artists sharing mana and mana`o with students from around the world. (Grasping the meaning of those Hawaiian words is part of the experience.)
George Kahumoku, Jr. (guitar, ukulele, songs & singing)
Farmer, educator, author, artist, touring musician, chef, and free spirit, George sets the workshop tone and shares his knowledge of all things Hawaiian. A natural leader, George teaches by example, whether the subject is slack-key guitar, `ukulele, singing or preparing lau lau. George imparts serious knowledge with good humor, punctuated by his inimitable laugh.
Keoki Kahumoku (ukulele, guitar, songs & singing)
Having taught himself to play, one string at a time, Keoki excels at teaching `ukulele and slack-key fundamentals. Students of Keoki's, such as Da Ukulele Boyz and Brittni Paiva, have successful music careers. Keoki is actively involved in perpetuating traditional Hawaiian values among today's youth on Hawai`i Island, and shares his insights during workshops.
Ledward Kaapana (guitar, ukulele)
Multitudes of Led-Heads acclaim him The Man of slack key. He is also a `ukulele virtuoso and fun-loving entertainer. Patient and generous with his time and talents, Ledward teaches as his musical family taught him -- by showing, as often as it takes.
Ledward is a huge inspiration to our students every year.
Rev. Dennis Kamakahi (guitar, songwriting, history of songs)
Everyone who loves Hawaiian music cherishes the songs of Dennis Kamakahi. Dennis acknowledges the influences of Queen Lili`uokalani and Sam Li`a Kalainaina (with an occasional hint of bluegrass) in his poetic songwriting. Workshop students' understanding of Hawaiian sensibilities is enriched by the stories Uncle Dennis shares.
David Kamakahi (ukulele, improvisation)
As a teenager, David surprised his famous father by teaching himself `ukulele well enough to record professionally after just one year of practice. His playing technique is exceptionally clean and precise. He is especially good at inspiring our advanced youth players.
Herb Ohta, Jr. (ukulele)
No surprises for Herb's famous father. Emerging from early tutelage to establish himself as a world-class `ukulele soloist in his own right, Herb also pursued a teaching career at the Roy Sakuma school. Herb's dry wit makes his classes a treat. His private lessons are usually the first to be fully booked.
Jeff Peterson (guitar, ukulele, music theory)
Jeff Peterson can play anything on the guitar. He makes his students believe they can, too. Blending his Maui upbringing with impeccable technique and masterful preparation, Jeff makes everything about slack key and `ukulele music accessible and pleasurable. He is the favorite of those who learn best from tablature. His knowledge of music runs from Hawaiian to classical, jazz, and blues.
Kevin Brown (guitar, songs & singing)
Kevin Brown sings and teaches Hawaiian songs with the true feeling of aloha. His slack-key playing is beautiful and economical -- the fruit of early help from the legendary Leonard Kwan. Kevin performs regularly with his son, Ikaika, and makes everyone he meets feel like family.
Richard Ho`opi`i (falsetto & ukulele lecture/demo)
Uncle Richard stands out in the Hawaiian music community for his incomparable leo ki`ek`ie (falsetto) singing, `ukulele playing and charismatic stage presence. He is a regular guest at the workshop, and often joins the group for its annual performance at the Maui Slack Key Festival.
One of Hawaiian music’s most gifted vocalists, Martin Pahinui has performed with a host of top artists, including his father’s legendary Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band, The Peter Moon Band, and slack key super group Hui Aloha. After nearly a half century making music, Martin reflects a firm commitment to both honoring and extending the Pahinui slack key legacy. “My daddy is a very big influence on all of us,” Martin says. “But he always did things his own way and he taught us to trust our own instincts too. He always said the key was to respect the culture and then do your music in the way that brings you the most enjoyment.”
Peter and Melinda Wing (lei making)
Recent immigrants to Maui, Peter and Melinda Wing bring with them years of experience in Hawaiian music, hula, language, culture and crafts. This will be the Wings' third year of teaching lei and lauhala making at the workshop -- in the process preparing the group for the Festival performance. Lei/lauhala making is also open to spouse/companions as well as guitar & ukulele students.