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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 16, 2006

Grammy winners rendezvous on Maui

By Christie Wilson
Advertiser Neighbor Island Editor

Celebrating the Grammy-winning Hawaiian music album "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 1" at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua last night were, from left, Keoki Kahumoku, Peter deAquino, Ozzie Kotani, Garrett Probst, Cyril Pahinui, Ledward Ka'apana, Paul Konwiser, George Kahumoku Jr., and Martin Pahinui.

CHRISTIE WILSON | The Honolulu Advertiser

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KAPALUA, Maui It was Grammy night all over again, as the performers and producers involved in the "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 1" album reunited yesterday at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua for the first time since picking up the coveted recording industry award Feb. 8 in Los Angeles.

Except this time, musician Cyril Pahinui and co-producer Paul Konwiser were able to share the spotlight with their collaborators. In "the show must go on" tradition, the two men had stayed behind on Maui last week to make sure the regular Wednesday night "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" concert series would continue at the hotel.

The CD, which won the Grammy for best Hawaiian music album, is a compilation of songs recorded live during the series' first two years.

When asked what he would have said if he'd had the chance to make an acceptance speech, Pahinui acknowledged his legendary father, Gabby Pahinui, who is credited with spreading appreciation for the ki ho'alu style beyond Hawai'i's shores. "From childhood until now, and with all these accomplishments, I've just been following in Dad's footsteps. But there's no way to replace him," he said.

Pahinui said he's certain Gabby would be proud. "I know my father is watching me whenever I perform, and when they announced the Grammy, I could see the smile on his face," Cyril Pahinui said.

Konwiser was unable to adequately articulate his reaction to winning the Grammy. "It's still sort of stunning," he said.

The "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 1" was produced by Konwiser, Daniel Ho and Wayne Wong/Daniel Ho Creations, and features Ho and Pahinui along with Ledward Ka'apana, George Kahumoku Jr. and son Keoki Kahumoku, Ozzie Kotani, and "Da Ukulele Boys" Peter deAquino and Garrett Probst.

Only Ho was absent from last night's concert, as he is in Los Angeles readying the elder Kahumoku's next solo album for release in March.

Kahumoku, who hosted the evening, said it was unusual to see so many leading ki ho'alu artists in one concert. "We all live on different islands and we never see each other and never get to play on stage together," he said.

The crowd responded to the stellar lineup, which included Cyril's brother, Martin Pahinui, with standing ovations. Many of the visitors in the audience were longtime fans of ki ho'alu.

Abbie Rosenberg and Tim Callahan of California, who listen to the Hawaiian music station KAPU-LP in Watsonville, heard about the concert and flew to Maui yesterday from Honolulu for the "once in a lifetime" event. Their friend, Julie Hendrick of Boulder Creek near Santa Cruz, just attended Keola Beamer's slack-key fantasy camp on Moloka'i. She said she discovered ki ho'alu from hearing a Beamer record in 1972.

"I just listen to Hawaiian music and nothing else. It's all about the aloha," Hendrick said.

Mayor Alan Arakawa, who delivered a county proclamation to the album makers during a pre-concert reception at the Ritz-Carlton, also is a fan. He said ki ho'alu "is precious to us all."

"When we were growing up, TV was a rarity. The families used to get together to play music," he said. "All my aunties and uncles used to sing or dance. Everybody knew how to play music except me."

Keoki Kahumoku immediately offered to send Arakawa a copy of his beginning ukulele instruction DVD.

Reach Christie Wilson at cwilson@honoluluadvertiser.com.