If you like hearing the soothing sounds of guitar and gentle voices singing about nature, the ocean and past of this magnificent island, you should pay a visit to this festival. Hawaii is known for the ukulele as it is the most widely recognized instrument here but, they consider the slack key guitar to be their native instrument. With that in minds, they dedicated this whole festival to it and the artists who play it. So, this festival is a unique opportunity to not only see this beautiful and breathtaking country but, to hear their award winning artists giving their best and leaving their hearts on the stage.
There is a popular story that this type of guitar was not invented in Hawaii but it was brought there by the European sailors. They taught the locals how to work on farms. The locals needed something to relax after a hard days work and they started playing the guitars. The sound of this guitar was very different from the normal one and that was interesting to the island cowboys. Since vocals are traditionally the main instrument in Hawaii music, they decided to implement the guitar with it.
If you decide to pay a visit to this festival, you will have an experience that happens once in a life time.
You will be able to witness the outstanding skills of the local legends who literally invented single finger picking guitar playing style. This festival also offers a lot of different opportunities. You can become a vendor, a volunteer, an organizer or the performer. they have various workshops all over the festival where you can learn all about Hawaii and their people.
There are three most popular events. The first one is Mele Mei. It is a one of a kind tribute to the Hawaiian culture, language, and music and it is a part of the great, traveling slack key guitar festival. This event is full of workshops and luncheons as well as the performances across the state. The festival moves all across the most beautiful Hawaiian islands who are just breathtakingly enchanting and mesmerizing. In addition to all these festivities and traveling, the visitors will be able to see as many shows as they can take.
It is more than well organized festival. Almost all guitar and ukulele players will be gathered here. Everything on this festival is dedicated to the slack key guitar. The remarkable landscapes and stunningly beautiful islands paired with such events, nice and warm people whose hospitality is legendary in the world will simply leave you speechless. Pay it a visit and enjoy like never before because this is a one in a life time opportunity to see something that you have only dreamed of. This amazing festival is the proof that life can be more than good, it can be wonderful. Maybe you will even learn how to play.
Known among his people as the godfather of slack key guitar and the father of modern slack key guitar playing, Gabby Pops Pahinui was a legend in Hawaii. He is the one who made this guitar and the single finger picking style of playing popular across the islands. Also, he is the reason why it is still popular. In fact, his people loved him so much that they decided to dedicate the whole slack key guitar festival to him and his name. His glory is well known all over the world thanks to this festival. They are very proud of his music as they are of their country.
Pops made his first recordings around 1940’s. Those were the state’s first recordings as well. People were amazed and appalled by what they heard. That style of guitar playing was not heard until that moment. The complex sounds and unique guitar technique made people recognize the legend from the first moment his music hit their ears. Up until that moment, locals considered the guitar as just a background instrument, meant to fill the melody of their singing. It was Gabby’s style of playing that convinced them otherwise. They learned that the guitar can be so much more.
But Gabby wasm’t only good at guitar playing. He was a singer too and a quite good one. He had such an impressive voice. His work led to the popularity of the solo guitar playing and that style is still popular today. Therefore, he is considered as the pioneer of the solo guitar playing style. Later on, Pahinui started mentoring slack key guitar players and he was the best source of inspiration to them. People were literally standing in line and waiting for the master to show them a few tricks. Many of those players are very successful guitarists today who take a participation in the slack key guitar festival to honor the man who showed them the way.
Gabby had an amazing talent. The man could handle any string instrument with ease. The most interesting fact about the Pops was that he was a self-taught artist completely. He is the best example of how lots of hard work can easily pay off. Since he came from the struggling family, he was considered a genuine and true hero of the working class. People simply loved him. That’s why the people of Hawaii are still celebrating the name of this unique guitar master, to pay honor and tribute to the contribution he made to their culture and country. The festival is actually a commemoration of this one of a kind simple but great man.