If the daily grind is getting you down, the perfect solution is coming this weekend: a full Sunday afternoon of pleasant, melodious slack key guitar music. The beautiful music is guaranteed to lift your spirits and soothe your soul--and it's free!
The annual Ki Ho'alu Festival of slack key guitar music will be held in the A&B Amphitheater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Sunday, June 23, with continuous performances from 1 to 7 p.m.
This is traditionally one of Maui's favorite family events. All generations can "chillax" and enjoy the slack key guitar artists, with both new music and classic favorites performed on the stage of Yokouchi Pavilion out over the lawn of the amphitheater.
The Kī Hō‘alu Festival at the MACC is traditionally one of Maui’s favorite family events.
Photo: Aubrey Hord
Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets or lauhala mats to roll out on the grass and fully enjoy the laid-back music by famed guitar players.
The line-up of musicians and recording artists this year includes: Kevin & Ikaika Brown, Danny Carvalho, John Cruz, Hapa, Stephen Inglis, David Kahiapo, George Kahumoku Jr., Dwight Kanae, Donald Kaulia, Dennis Kamakahi, Walter Keale, George Kuo, Bobby Moderow, Glen Smith, Paul Togioka and Alani 'Yuki' Yamauchi from Tokyo What a plethora of skilled musicians!
The day is full, because the slack key tradition is a long one. Ki ho'alu, translating literally from the Hawaiian as "loosen the key" to indicate the tuning in slack key guitar technique, is a musical technique dating back to the 19th century paniolo who played around the campfire after work on Hawai'i's ranches.
Slack key has now become known as one of the world's great acoustic guitar methods--especially since the Grammy Awards now recognizes Hawaiian music as a category of its own.
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festivals began as a tribute to Gabby "Pops" Pahinui, whose name is synonymous with the ki ho'alu guitar art form. Today's Ki Ho'alu Festivals continue the legacy, as current players perpetuate and preserve this uniquely Hawaiian acoustic guitar art form.
Maui's annual Ki Ho'alu Festival is now in its 22nd year at the MACC, presented by the MACC, sponsored by The Maui News and supported by Hawai'i Tourism Authority and the County of Maui.
The festival is produced by the Ki Ho'alu Foundation and Ka Hoku Productions, with festivals also on O'ahu, Kaua'i and Hawai'i Island.
Music is not the only tradition represented on Sunday. The Ki Ho'alu Festival will also feature crafters and displays of made-in-Hawai'i products, as well as 'ono-licious food from Maui eateries--all presented in an informal local-style atmosphere.
Door prizes will be given away all afternoon, and a variety of beverages will be available.
With beautiful music, good grinds, lots of friends and families gathered together, well this all makes it easy to truly relax and linger 'til dusk. E komo mai for ki ho'alu music on Sunday!