Archive for December, 2015

  • Leslie Granat–E Ola Makamaka! Long live our friends!

    December 29, 2015:  Got a call from Fred & Jane Litt last night notifying me that my great friend Leslie Granat passed away. Her burial was in Haiku this morning at 11 am. I’m deeply saddened by her passing but grateful and blessed to have known Leslie during my lifetime!  Here are a few of my thoughts about my dear friend Leslie.

    A few Thursdays back, Nancy and I went to Makena Beach & Golf Resort to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. We went to share a romantic dinner and hear the Kathy Collins Talk Story event, held around an open campfire at the old Imu Pit -Luau Grounds at the resort. (Kathy has been performing her Talk Story event at Makena for over 18 months.) During one of Kathy’s story, she spoke of ʻOlelo Hawaiʻi (the Hawaiian language) and how unlike it was from English. The action or verb always comes first. Well for me, Leslie Granat was like that. Her actions always came first! Here’s a partial list of her actions and why I loved her:

    Action #1: Patron of the Arts
    When I first started the University of Hawaii Maui College Institute of Hawaiian Music, it was Leslie who stepped forward, offered her home, and invited over 50 of her Wailea friends to a dinner event that raised over $75,000 in a single night. That money was doubled by Johnny Baldwin and his Foundation to $150,000!

    Action #2: She loved and supported life!
    She lived in a whimsical dream world building a tree house and lookout in her backyard at Maui Meadows! She followed and lived her dreams! She collected and supported all forms of art: visual paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics, and an eccentric collection of nik-naks and do dads. Her home was a tribute and feast for any artists’ senses, especially the eyes, ears and nose. She wore outrageous muumuus and hats and things protruding from her hair! She delighted in being festive and full of it! She was full of Aloha! She was the embodiment of Aloha in human form.

    Action #3: She lived life like there was no tomorrow.
    She was a mentor to me and gave me great advice about Kickstarter crowdfunding and other finances for my many projects including Andaz! She loved fellow artists Led Kaapana and Dennis Kamakahi and supported our Slack Key Guitar Masters show for over 12 years. She came all the way from Maui Meadows (Wailea) to Napili monthly, to support our Hawaiian culture and music. She even attended Keawalai Congregational Church Celebration Events in Makena where I played music over the last 20 years

    Action#4: She shared
    Her home, her smile, her laughter, her love for the Arts with anyone she came across. Even though she was originally from the East Coast, she was a Kama’aina in heart and action; participating as a child of this land in Hawaii, on Maui!

    Action #5: She was a reincarnated, sophisticated, no nonsense Tutu
    …who loved her yapping dogs! She is a friend for life! Even in her busy schedule, she always found time to sit down, relax, talk story and become a fabric of our community. She was “fo real!”

    A final thought. In my younger days, for over a year, I was blessed to watch a flock of nene geese fly overhead. Leslie was like this flock of nene geese each individual taking different roles throughout their lifetime. Like the nene geese, she was sometimes a leader, and other times a follower. But mostly she was a supporter of many like me in our Maui Community! She was one of a kind woman. I believe that when she was born, God broke the mold and threw it away. She was one-of-a-kind and she will surely be missed. Leslie still lives through her actions and our memories.

    E Ola Makamaka! Long live our friends!

    -Uncle George




     PANIOLO SLACK KEY – Songs of the Hawaiian Cowboy

    NAPILI, MAUI – George Kahumoku Jr., host of his weekly Slack Key Show – Masters of Hawaiian Music at Napili Kai Beach Resort, is releasing his new CD Paniolo Slack Key – Songs of the Hawaiian Cowboy CD on December 21.

    This CD features traditional and original songs in two slack key guitar tunings celebrating the cowboy, horse, and ranching in Hawaii. Paniolo Slack Key is being submitted to Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) for the upcoming Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.

    Paniolo Slack Key – Songs of the Hawaiian Cowboy

    George Kahumoku, Jr. plays traditional and original songs in two slack key guitar tunings celebrating the cowboy, horse, and ranching in Hawaii.  Three of the 18 songs are originals, including He Mele No Na Lio, a vocal theme song composed for Maui’s newest live attraction, Na Lio (The Horses); and Pi’iholo Sunset, an instrumental song inspired by a recent horseback ride at Pi’iholo Ranch. The 15 traditional songs are mostly ones that George heard and sang growing up in a large musical family. Titles include such classics as Kilakila ‘O Haleakala, Kona Kai ‘Opua, Kupa Landing, and Pu’uanahulu.

    “I have I’ve been playing & performing Slack Key guitar, farming, and ranching all of my life, stated George, “which makes me especially excited about sharing these songs. I come from a family of paniolo, fishermen, & farmers. My father, George Sr., quit school after the 8th grade and broke horses for McCandless Ranch in South Kona, among other things. My great grandfather, Willy Kahumoku, was instrumental in building the stone walls that contained the cattle from Kona all the way to Waimea. My parents, grandparents, great grandparents all played Kiho’alu, or Slack Key guitar. I continue our Hawaiian family tradition of ranching and farming by raising goats, sheep, and miniature horses on our small farm on Maui. I grow a wide array of fruit, taro, vegetables, and Hawaiian herbal teas with my wife, Nancy.”

    Paniolo Slack Key will be available for purchase locally at Lahaina Music, Lahaina Town Action Committee Gift Store, and Request Records in Wailuku. This newest release, plus a wide selection of George’s CDs can also be purchased online at and websites as well as at George’s weekly Wednesday night Slack Key Shows at the Napili Kai Beach Resort. Generous supporters and fans crowd funded the production costs through a successful Kickstarter campaign and have received their CDs in advance of the official release date.

    Preview the Album Here:

    Get Your Copy of Paniolo Slack Key Click Here

  • Twas the Blog before Christmas (2015)…

    Facing my Fears
    This past Sat, Dec 5-2015

    This Saturday, Peter Hanohano led a group of us through an exercise called Strategic Silence. It was a strategy taught by Nana Veary in her book “Change We Must- My Spiritual Journey,” where in silence you are made whole again. Her message was that instead of talking to God in prayer, we listen to him in Silence. “The purpose is to free one’s self of all anger, guilt, resentment, discouragement, disappointment, worry, all the negative patterns buried in the sub conscious mind.” She says, “…in Silent Retreats you clear your channels so life can be fulfilled. Silent retreats give you spiritual Dignity.”

    “Silence means no repetitions, no affirmations, no denials, only a conscious acknowledgment of God’s allness.”

    We read an excerpt and was given the assignment to go outdoors and experience Silence for 15 minutes. Easy enough, I thought, in Silence! Turns out I had to leave through the gates of my farm because all the weeds and plants kept begging for my attention saying me! me! Me! Me! So fled outside my driveway and property to seek Silence! As I’m walking out the Gates, I notice a huge branch of a neighboring Eucalyptus tree shadowing my friend, Karen Fischer‘s Honda SUV! It’s this same tree that has been disturbing me for two years now making me worry about it breaking off and ruining my stone wall with its huge branches! The same tree that I’ve written to my Homeowner Association about several times, and now it aroused my greatest fear as the wind started picking up and the branches started waving its huge limbs up and down and side to side high above of both my head and my friend’s vulnerable SUV!! I feared the tree’s imposing limb would break off and come crashing down on Karen’s car, even though it was parked all the way across the street. The children’s lullaby, came to mind: “…when the wind blows… when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,” and everything will be crushed, Karen’s SUV and all! Never the less, if the branch did break. It would be a direct hit from its huge 2-3 story branches weighing at least 4-5 tons!

    Then, there was a light “Uhi Wai” drizzle, the kind that Hawaiians receive when they are blessed, the kind of misting drizzle that almost always accompanies a wedding ceremony that I’m officiating!  In that moment, I get chicken skin and feel blessed and my mind finally quiets down in Silence!

    It instantly starts to turn from a light drizzle to a Gully Washer with the wind carrying the rains sideways! I end up seeking shelter out fo the rain under my greatest fear… that huge Eucalyptus tree! Then, in an instant there’s complete silence again with the cloud cover rolling in! I can barely see 5 feet in front of me! It’s foggy dark and quiet and I can feel and hear my own heart beating against my chest! For the first time, I quietly observe and see fellow shelter seekers: all these plant roots of a Christmas berry plant, ferns and bird nests all intertwined in the bark of that huge Eucalyptus tree that I’m afraid of. Ironically, I observe that it is sustaining other life forms. Finally, the silence is broken by the singing birds like its morning all over again and the fog and clouds lift revealing sunny skies over Paia and Haleakala in the distance! Then I become aware that Peter is beckoning me to come inside. My 15 minutes of silence is over!

    Inside, each of the five of us, including Flora Wong, describe our Spiritual Awakening to one another. I can relate most to the experience of my friend Wayne Wong about being silent: the difficulty silencing the “chatter” in one’s mind, my mind! Peter shared a past “silence” experience with a huge mother Koa tree and I tell about my experience with my fears of my tree! Karen nonchalantly says she’s not afraid, if the tree falls on her car, she’ll just get a new one!

    Looking back! I see that tree as a symbol of all all my fears based on “what ifs”, not true facts! Finally, when my mind quieted, I was able to feel and receive the blessings of Gods goodness which quieted my fear! Then I was drawn to the base of my fears by the gully washer and saw that this huge tree also provided shelter and sustenance for other trees, ferns and birds and even me from the rain. In my silence I was also able to experience a new day or gain a new perspective on my life by looking beyond my current situation into the distant future where there was light and clarity awaiting!

    So what’s my greatest fear? Losing my identity and forgetting who I am! How will I conquer it! In Silence! Thanks Nana Veary for sharing your wisdom and Mahalo Peter Hanohano, for sharing this Silent Strategy and showing us the way!

    Through this Holiday season, let’s Count our blessings, Let Go and let God, and God’s Will be done. Face our Fears, Step out of our comfort zone! With God’s will, anything is possible.


    -Uncle George