Born on the Island of Maui, multiple Grammy Award and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Jeff Peterson grew up on the slopes of Haleakala where he was introduced to the rich heritage of Hawaiian music by his father, a paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy, on the Haleakala Ranch.
As a performer, Jeff has had the honor to work with a wide range of artists and groups including Eric Clapton, James Galway, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Aaron Neville, Boz Scaggs, the Honolulu Symphony, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom, The Matt Catingub Orchestra of Hawaii, jazz bassist Rufus Reid, shakuhachi master Riley Lee, the acclaimed string quartet Ethel, and with many other artists in the fields of Hawaiian, classical, and jazz music. He has four recordings with Riley Lee: “Maui Morning”, “Bamboo Slack Key”, “Haiku”, and “Haleakala”. He also released five solo guitar recording featuring his slack key artistry, “Maui On My Mind”, “Kahealani”, “Slack Key Jazz”, “The Artistry of Jeff Peterson”, and “Pure Slack Key”. Wayne Harada from the Honolulu Advertiser reacted to hearing the CDs by writing: “Add the Peterson name to the top 10 list of slack key giants”, “His manner is impeccable, his style exquisite: the CD is perfection”, “Brilliant . . . Peterson raises the bar a few notches in both slack key and jazz with this bright and exceptional release”. He is also featured as a performer and arranger on the 2008 and 2009 Grammy Nominated recordings “Aumakua” and “Friends and Family of Hawaii” by Amy Hanaiali’i.
He has traveled to Europe, Asia, Australia, and across the United Sates to perform at a variety of venues from Symphony Space in New York City to the National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australia. He recently had the honor of performing for former president Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton on the island of Kauai on two separate occasions. He performs regularly at Michel’s Restaurant in the Colony Surf Hotel in Waikiki in addition to a variety of other venues throughout Hawaii and abroad in both solo and group settings. In addition to performing, he taught the guitar at the University of Hawaii for several years running the guitar program. He achieved a milestone in Hawaiian music at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards on February 13th, 2005, when a recording on Palm Records featuring Jeff and other island artists, “Slack Key Guitar Volume 2”, won the first ever Grammy Award for best Hawaiian recording. He also won a Grammy Award in 2010 for his performance on the recording “Masters Of Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2”.His latest CD “Maui On My Mind” won the 2010 Hoku Award for Best Slack Key Album.
SONNY LIM, a member of Hawaii's famous musical Lim family, was born and raised in the heart of paniolo (cowboy) country on the Big Island. Sonny's parents taught their children to play a variety of musical instruments. 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 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 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 Hawaii. He is a multiple Hoku award winner, performs regularly with his family in Hawaii and Japan, and performed on Hawaii's first GRAMMY CD, "Slack Key Guitar Volume 2" (Palm Records). Sonny helped to accept the inaugural Hawaiian GRAMMY Award with GRAMMY Award winning producer Charles Michael Brotman in 2005. Sonny's speech was in Hawaiian - the first time ever that the Hawaiian language was spoken on the GRAMMY stage. "Slack Key Guitar: The Artistry of Sonny Lim" is Sonny's first solo CD. The songs include traditional slack key pieces and several songs that Sonny wrote and co-wrote with Brotman. The CD was produced by Brotman for Palm Records.Sonny received the Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 for his work with the Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau.
Born in 1950, Cyril Pahinui grew up in the small town of Waimanalo at the foot of the Ko'olau mountains on Oahu's windward coast. His father, Gabby Pahinui, was one of Hawaii's best known and most influential slack key guitarists. The Pahinui home and backyard provided food, shelter, rehearsal space, concert hall, and playground for many of Hawaii's foremost traditional musicians. The jams sessions went on all day - sometimes, all week. Cyril got started along the slack key path around the age of seven. His father offered encouragement, but mostly Cyril learned, in the traditional way, by observing. "I used to watch my dad, Atta Isaacs, Sonny Chillingworth, and my brothers when they would jam," he says. "They were so awesome you didn't want to miss anything. You didn't even want to blink your eyes!" A seasoned veteran at age twelve, Cyril began to play at concert performances, and by fifteen he was sitting in with his father's group. As Beatlemania swept Hawaii in the 1960s, Cyril and his older brother Bla started a rock band, after which, Cyril joined Sam and the Samlins, and continued to sit in with his father at shows. In 1968, Cyril made his first record with The Sunday Manoa, a loose association of like-minded young people intent on helping perpetuate the classic Hawaiian sound. Two years away in the army interrupted Cyril's performing, though it gave him plenty of time to woodshed and to hear other styles of guitar. When he returned to Hawaii, his father was at the peak of his popularity. Cyril played on all five of Gabby's groundbreaking albums on Panini, providing many of the distinctive, improvised introductions for the songs. He also joined Palani Vaughan's project chronicling King David Kalakaua's music and times. In 1975, Cyril formed The Sandwich Isle Band, one of the first young bands to feature steel guitar and revive the jazz-inflected songs of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1979 he joined the Peter Moon Band, which also included brother Martin. Throughout the 1980s, he continued to expand his musical horizons, especially in the C major tuning he inherited from Atta Isaacs. In 1988, after many promptings, Cyril recorded an album of traditional and contemporary songs, which won Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for Best Contemporary Hawaiian Album and Best Male Vocalist from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. In 1992 he joined brothers Bla and Martin for a long-awaited Pahinui Brothers album. Cyril also began recording for Dancing Cat as a solo performer, and won the 1994 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Instrumental Album of the Year with his debut release on Dancing Cat, 6 & 12 STRING SLACK KEY. In 1999, Dancing Cat released the first duet album for Bob & Cyril, FOUR HANDS SWEET & HOT, which won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Instrumental Album of the Year in 2000. Cyril's touring schedule has increased in the past years, taking him to Japan, Europe, and across the Mainland frequently. But, he is always mindful of the influence of his elders. He comments, "All my music comes from dad, Atta Isaacs, and Sonny Chillingworth. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here. They showed all of us young ones the way."
David "Chino" Montero is recognized as one of Hawaii's most talented guitarists and falsetto vocalists. He has performed and recorded with many of Hawaii's top artists and was a founding member of the popular trio Palolo. His music was featured on three Grammy Nominated recordings in 2006, 2008, and 2009. He has toured in China, Japan, Brazil, Tahiti, and across the USA. Highlights include venues in Germany opening for Carlos Santana, the House of Blues in Chicago and Dallas, The Schermerhorn Symphony Center with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China.
In 1972, Dennis Kamakahi became a member of a Hawaiian music group known as Na Leo O Nuuanu. His first recording with Na Leo O Nu'uanu was the album Ia 'Oe E Ka La Volume 1, released on the Nakahili Productions label with Palani Vaughan. It was the first of a series of albums based on the life of King David Kalakaua. The second recording of the group, released 1974, was recorded live at a music festival in Waimea, Hawaii called The Waimea Music Festival. The festival featured many of Hawaii's popular entertainers of the time including Gabby Pahinui, Fred Punahoa, The Sunday Manoa and Genoa Keawe.
It was his tenure with Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaii (1974–1995) that led Kamakahi to become one of Hawaii's most prolific songwriters in the Hawaiian language, composing around 500 songs. In 1974, Kamakahi recorded with the Sons of Hawaii for the National Geographic Society's Music of the World series. This was the beginning of seven albums under the Hawaii Sons label and the recording of many of Kamakahi's music compositions. In 1978 he became a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and created Naukilo Publishing Company, a music publishing firm.
From 1988 until 2004, he continued to work with Kamae, recording soundtracks for several Hawaiian documentary films: LI‘A: The Legacy of a Hawaiian Man, Listen to the Forest, The Hawaiian Way: The Art and Tradition of Slack Key Music, Words, Earth & Aloha: The Source of Hawaiian Music, Luther Kahekili Makekau: A One Kine Hawaiian Man, Hawaiian Voices: Bridging Past to Present, Sons of Hawai'i: A Sound, A Band, A Legend, Hawaiian Son: The Life and Music of Eddie Kamae and Keepers of the Flame: The Legacy of Three Hawaiian Women, all produced by Eddie and Myrna Kamae as part of the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation series.
Kamakahi launched his solo career in 1996, releasing his first slack key guitar CD Pua'ena, (Glow Brightly) co-produced by Howard Johnston and pianist George Winston, under Dancing Cat Records. In 1998 he released his second slack key guitar CD for Dancing Cat Records together with son David Kamakahi on the ukulele. The CD was called Ohana (Family). It was soon followed by another Dancing Cat Records release, Hui Aloha (Play Together), featuring both Dennis and David Kamakahi, George Kuo, and Martin Pahinui.
In 2003 under his own recording label, Dennis Kamakahi Productions, he released a second album with son David, The Gift of Music - From Father to Son. The CD included narratives between each song selection to explain the meaning of each song. In 2003, both Kamakahi and David became involved with the Walt Disney Studios to provide vocal and instrumental the animated film Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (released in August 2005) as well as the soundtrack, released on Island Favourites. It was also at this time that Kamakahi became a member of SAG Screen Actors Guild.
Kamakahi produced an album featuring his son in 2004 entitled Pa'ani (Play). The CD was the first solo ukulele effort of David and garnered a Na Hoku Hanohano Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts for Contemporary Album of the Year in 2005. At that same Award Ceremony, Kamakahi was honored with the Na Hoku Hanohano Kiho'alu Award (Slack Key Award) by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.
At the 49th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California on February 11, 2007, Kamakahi received his first Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Album for the slack key guitar compilation CD Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, part of the recorded live concerts at Kapalua, Maui at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Dennis received his second Grammy in the Hawaiian Music Category in 2008 at the 50th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles for the slack key guitar compilation CD Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, part of the second recorded live concert series at the Napilikai Resort Hotel in Kapalua, Maui. He also joined the Music Teachers National Association that year to continue the teaching and advancement of music composition to students.
Kamakahi was nominated for a third Grammy in 2009 at the 51st Grammy Awards with the slack key compilation CD The Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, a third recorded live series at the Napilikai Resort Hotel in Kapalua, Maui. The CD did not win the award, but Kamakahi did receive his first gold Grammy Nominee medal as a record producer.
Kamakahi was nominated for his fourth attempt to win a Grammy on the slack key compilation CD The Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Volume 2 - Live in Maui and won his third Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010.
In 2009, Kamakahi was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts as a member of the Sons of Hawaii and inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall Of Fame. Kamakahi continues to perform in live concerts in Hawaii and abroad and currently teaches Hawaiian slack key guitar, the History of Hawaiian songs and their meaning, and songwriting workshops in both Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.