Friday Night Dinner Show
5:30 – 7:00pm at SOhO Restaurant and Music Club
Ken Emerson & Jim “Kimo” West – Slackers in Paradise
Hawaiian slack key guitar (ki ho’alu) is one of the great acoustic guitar traditions of the world, dating back to the 1840’s when guitars were first brought to Hawaii and relatively unknown outside the islands until recently. In “Slack Key” some of the strings are slacked from standard tuning, with the bass, melody, and improvisation played at the same time, and is often played to accompany traditional dance or song.
Ken Emerson and Jim “Kimo” West are both living legends in the world of Hawaiian slack key and acoustic steel guitar. Their diverse musical influences venture beyond the islands toward the land of blues, ragtime and even jazz. Both have played on Grammy-winning records.
Ken Emerson’s family moved to Hawaii in 1968. Absorbing the Hawaiian culture, Ken began studying Hawaiian language and music emulating the players of the 1920’s and ‘30s era by listening to vintage Hawaiian 78 rpm records, zeroing in on the jazz and blues styles of Sol Ho’opi’i and Sol K. Bright. Soon Ken was playing alongside such legendary performers as Gabby Pahinui, Genoa Keawe, Raymond Kane, and Moe Keale. Ken plays both Hawaiian Slack Key and lap steel guitar and switches easily between them during his performance, laying his guitar on his lap and picking up a steel bar for an instrumental interlude.
Jim “Kimo” West first visited Hana, Maui in 1985. Already a devotee of open tunings, he was immediately drawn to the gentle rhythms of ki ho ‘alu and soon began writing his own songs. The rich physical and cultural landscape of the Hana Coast has provided the inspiration for many of his compositions. While always retaining the heartfelt essence of traditional slack key, Jim brings much of his own musical heritage to his original ki ho’alu instrumentals. His style can best be described as “nahenahe”, meaning “soft, sweet or gentle voice”, a fusion of old and new but still rooted deeply in tradition.
Ken and Jim will follow this special concert with a Slack’n’Steel workshop at 2:45 on Sunday.
$12 in advance with priority dinner seating. $15 at the door open to all!