Saturday, May 11, 2024

VA - Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection, Vol. 1 [1995] + Vol. 2 [1999] (2 x CDs)

VA - Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection, Vol. 1 [1995] + Vol. 2 [1999] (2 x CDs)

The albums “Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection: Volume 1” and “Volume 2” are exceptional showcases of the distinctive Hawaiian music style known as “ki ho’alu”, or slack key guitar. This style is defined by the unique tuning of the guitar strings, which are typically loosened or “slacked”, creating a resonant and vibrant sound that is characteristic of this music.

The first volume was initially released in 1995, and then re-released on Dec 23, 2004, while the second volume was released on July 27, 1999. Both albums were brought to the public by Dancing Cat Records, a label renowned for its commitment to promoting Hawaiian music and artists.

The music style presented in these collections is a fusion of various genres, including Finger-Picked Guitar, Slack-Key Guitar, Hawaiian, and Oceanic Traditions. The second volume further incorporates elements of Blues, New Age, and Pop/Rock, resulting in a sound that is both soothing and invigorating, rich and diverse.  The primary instrument used in these albums is the acoustic guitar, the cornerstone of slack key music. The music also showcases the versatility of slack key guitar, demonstrating how it can be played solo, in duets, or with a variety of accompaniments such as 'ukulele, acoustic steel guitar, and multiple guitars. This diversity in instrumentation adds depth and complexity to the music, making each track a unique auditory journey.

The “Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection: Volume 1” and “Volume 2” are a celebration of Hawaii’s rich musical heritage. They attest to the versatility and beauty of slack key guitar music, offering listeners an opportunity to experience and appreciate this unique music style. These albums are a must-listen for anyone interested in world music, and particularly for those who appreciate the artistry of guitar playing. (B)






Track lists

Vol. 01

01 Cyril Pahinui - Panini Pua Kea 4:02

02 Ozzie Kotani - Ku'u Lika Kahinko (My Old Guitar) 3:51

03 Moses Kahumoku - Pohakuloa 4:44

04 Leonard Kwan - Ke'ala's Mele 6:13

05 Barney Isaacs & George Kuo - Maui Medley 6:37

06 Sonny Chillingworth - Moe 'uhane (Dream Slack Key) 2:59

07 Keola Beamer With George Winston - Kalena Kai 4:25

08 Ledward Kaapana - Whee Ha Swing 2:37

09 Keola Beamer - E Ku'u Morning Dew 4:51

10 George Kuo - Wakiki Hula Medley 4:33

11 Ray Kane - Punahele 3:36

Vol. 02

01 Raymond Kane - Popoki Slack Key [Instrumental] 2:43

02 David Kamakahi - Ulili E [Vocal Version] 4:20

03 Bob Brozman - Hilo E/E Lili'u E [Instrumental] 3:58

04 Sonny Chillingworth - Liloa's Mele [Instrumental] 2:49

05 Ledward Kaapana - Radio Hula [Instrumental] 3:35

06 Keola Beamer - 'imi Au La 'oe [Instrumental] 3:13

07 Dennis Kamakahi - Pu'u Anahula [Vocal Version] 6:51

08 Cyril Pahinui - Hurrah Lani Ha'a Ha'a [Vocal Version] 4:14

09 James Bla Pahinui - Maori Brown Eyes [Instrumental] 3:47

10 Dennis Kamakahi - Wahine 'ilikea [Vocal Version] 4:30

11 Bob Brozman - Lei 'awapuhi (Yellow Ginger Lei) [Instrumental] 4:43

12 George Winston - The Beauty Of Mauna Kea 5:10

13 Sonny Chillingworth - Mai Poina 'oe Ia'u (Not To Be Forgotten) [Vocal Version] 5:30

14 George Kahumoku - Aloha Oe [Instrumental] 6:35

15 George Kahumoku - Ulu Niu Ke'eke'e (The Crooked Coconut Tree) [Vocal Version] 5:51

16 Leonard Kwan - Slack Key Serenade [Instrumental] 2:29




  1. Terrific collection of mellow sounds.
    Mike M

  2. I was introduced to slack key guitar by Ry Cooder. He is a great admirer of Gabby Pahinui's guitar art. This compilation is a great introduction to this music. And anyone who wants to get to know great instrumentalists carrying on a musical tradition that is truly unique in the world should listen to these compilations. Highly recommended. Thanks a lot, BB

    1. Hi Ingolf,
      I love the sound of slack key guitar. I have presented a few posts around this instrument.
      You may like the compilation I did cack in 2019. You can find it here -

    2. Hi BB,
      Thanks for the tip. I'm downloading the compilation right now - and I'm already very excited.

  3. I bought the CD to Vol 1. back in the day and listened to it endlessly. Thanks for posting this!