“Wish I could have thanked everyone involved for making the Seattle Slack Key Festival such a memorable occasion. My Mom is still talking about the sweet soulful sound of Kiho'Alu...” Ferdinand, San Juan Island
Photo Courtesy of Jerry Santos
Jerry Santos has one of the most distinct voices in all Hawai‘I and has been a familiar presence on the Hawaii music scene for almost four decades. There is no mistaking his lyrics and their connection with the memories and emotions of local lives. “The idea of home was the driving force for the content. Most of the songs speak to the idea of ku‘u home, a personal, endearing way to refer to our place in the world. It becomes ku‘u because we attach to it our familiarity, what the wind and the rain are like, how the mountains smell, what is in the river, who our people are, our attachment to them and the things we have learned by being of a place,” Jerry says. Jerry has performed throughout Hawai’i, the continental USA, Canada, Japan and other Pacific Island Nations. He has collaborated with The Honolulu symphony, The Honolulu City Ballet and The Hawaii Youth Symphony and appeared in several PBS specials. Whether performing as a soloist, or with his group Olomana, Jerry Santos music comes from the heart and is shared with Aloha.
Photo courtesy of Sonny Lim
Elmer "Sonny" Lim was born and raised in the heart of paniolo (cowboy) country on Hawai‘i Island where ki ho‘alu (slack key guitar) originated. As a member of Hawai‘i’s famous musical Lim family, Sonny’s was taught to play a variety of musical instruments both modern and traditional. Sonny’s father was a paniolo at Parker Ranch, where Sonny also worked for 23 years. His introduction to ki ho’alu (slack key guitar) came as a child, when he was inspired to learn by Gabby Pahinui while watching him perform at a lu’au in Kohala. Sonny’s biggest inspiration and influence came at age 12 from a well-known slack key guitarist and family friend, Uncle Fred Punahoa. Punahoa took a keen interest in Sonny’s playing, and spent several weeks living with the Lim family in Kohala in order to teach him.
Sonny’s professional career started as a teenager when he mastered the steel guitar given to him by paniolo, uncle Sonny Alapai of Pu‘uanahulu. Sonny commuted to Oahu to perform with the Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau. Over the past two decades Sonny has performed with virtually every ‘name’ musician in Hawai‘i. He is a multiple Hoku award winner, performs regularly with his family in Hawai‘i and Japan
Photo courtesy of Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson is recognized as one of Hawaii’s most versatile musicians. Born on the Island of Maui, Jeff was introduced to the rich heritage of Hawaiian music by his father, a paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy, on the Haleakala Ranch. Jeff’s passion for the guitar has allowed him to shine as a solo artist and has given him the opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of artists from Hawai'i, across the U.S., and abroad. His focus on slack key guitar, classical, and jazz music has allowed him to develop a unique and transcendent voice on the guitar, while being deeply rooted in the traditions of his Hawaiian heritage. Jeff has contributed to two Grammy Award-winning recordings and has been honored with four Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. His solo recording, Maui on My Mind, was recognized as Slack Key Album of the Year in 2010 and received a Grammy nomination in 2011.
Photo courtesy of Chelle Pahinui
Phillip Kunia Galdeira, better known as “Kunia” was born on the Island of Oahu and raised in Waianae until the age of 16. In 1979 he moved in with his grandparents which he is proud say he is the grandson of the late Gabby “pops” Pahinui. It was at that time that music would change his life forever. Kunia has played with his Uncle Cyril pahinui for the past 10 years and also plays in the Kohala Resorts and Waimea-Kamuela where he now lives.
Photo courtesy of Chelle Pahinui
Ikaika Marzo is a descendant of the Native Hawaiian music families that come form Kalapana. Far from the modern world, the lifestyle and music of Kalapana have remained unique and distinct as it has evolved drictly from living in Hawaii in a Hawaiian way and a love for that lifestyle and its music. In addition to mastering Kiho'alu Ikaika is a guide for Kalapana Cultural Tours.
Kamuela Kimokeo with Hi'ikua
Photo courtesy of Chelle Pahinui
Photo courtesy of Patrick Landeza
Patrick Landeza is a Northern California-based slack key guitarist, who recently made history when he became the first mainland artist to win a Na Hoku Hanohano Award. Patrick won for slack key guitar album of the year, for his fifth solo release, Slack Key Huaka’i. Patrick, the son of Hawaiian immigrants, took up slack key guitar as a teenager under the tutelage of the legendary Raymond Kaleoalohapoinaoleohelemanu Kane and other slack key masters. Patrick has dedicated his life to sharing the slack key art form with the world. He is founder of the Institute of Hawaiian Music and Culture and was the youngest recipient of the prestigious Kapalakiko Aloha Spirit Award for his work with slack key. Patrick, the father of four and a sixth grade teacher at St. Joseph School in Fremont, California, teaches slack key weekly at Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse and produces Hawaiian music events and a weekly radio program, The Hawaiian Music World on KAPU-LP 104.7FM in Watsonville, California.
Hula Halau Pulamahia I Ke Liko Lehua
Photo courtesy of Hula Halau Pulamahia I Ke Liko Lehua
Hula Halau Pulamahia I Ke Liko Lehua proudly supports the Seattle Slack Key Festival. The hula halau is honored to be chosen by Uncle Cyril Pahinui to share the hula set to the music of the kiho’alu (slack key) artists he brings to Seattle each year.
Halau Hula Pulamahia I Ke Liko Lehua began as a small group of 9 hula dancers: 4 men, 5 women. They came together under the direction of Moodette Keliihoomalu-Kaapana, a Native Hawaiian woman born and raised on the island of Oahu.
Kumu Hula Moodette Keliihoomalu-Kaapana is fondly known as “Auntie Moody” around the Puget Sound area. She earned the title of Kumu Hula after many years of study and two years of intensive training under Kumu Hula Mae Kamamalu Klein (Hula Loea). She completed her ‘uniki rites with Papa ‘Uniki Liko Lehua in June of 1994. She has been teaching in the state of Washington since her arrival in Seattle to attend Seattle University. She has trained many students, both men and women, and currently her halau is made up of predominantly Hawaiian dancers. Her halau is committed to the preservation of the Hawaiian culture and the perpetuation of the hula stylings of Kumu Hula Maiki Aiu Lake who was Moodette’s first hula teacher.