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4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

Price: $15.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2009 $8.99  
Audio CD, 1995 $15.49  
Audio Cassette, 1995 --  

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Frequently Bought Together

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Volume 1 + Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection, Vol. 2 + The Descendants
Price for all three: $43.77

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 23, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dancing Cat Records
  • ASIN: B001O2ANY6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,116 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Panini Pua Kea (Cyril Pahinui)
2. Ku'u Kika Kahiko (Ozzie Kotani)
3. Pohakuloa (Moses Kahumoku)
4. Ke'ala's Mele (Leonard Kwan)
5. Maui Medley (Barney Isaacs & George Kuo)
6. Moe 'Uhane (Sonny Chillingworth)
7. Kalena Kai (Keola Beamer with George Winston)
8. Whee Ha Swing (Ledward Kaapana)
9. E Ku'u Morning Dew (Keola Beamer)
10. Waikiki Hula Medley (George Kuo)
11. Punahele (Ray Kane)

Editorial Reviews


Hawaiian slack-key guitar began evolving in the 1830s, when Spanish and Mexican cowboys brought guitars to the cattle ranches of the Big Island. It became a recognizable style around the turn of the century. The term refers to the practice of slacking some strings from standard tunings to create open tunings; the thumb provides the bass line while the other fingers play melody and improvise. It might thus remind some listeners of the fingerpicking of a country master like Doc Watson, but the style has a wind-blown, wide-open quality all its own. Traditionally an accompanying instrument in a group setting, slack key has recently moved out front, and this all-instrumentals CD shows why. From the light touch of Moses Kahumoku or Leonard Kwan to the bluesiness of George Keo or Ray Kane to the pop feel of Keola Beamer, it offers the best possible introduction to the music. --John Morthland

Slack Key great Keola Beamer defined the Hawaiian word mana as the spiritual power that emanates from a material object, that it attains during its life. The guitars on this album radiate that power. Slack Key guitarists slacken the strings of their- instruments to produce open tuning - tuning that, when strummed unfretted, produce chords like G major, G minor, A minor 7th, C 6th. Many of these tunes are slow, with pristine picking, subtle variations, and notes that seemingly ring forever. Imagine trying to write a tune, such as Moses Kahumoku plays here, about the U.S. military's use of a great volcano in your native land for bombing practice. No words: just nylon strings and wood to speak of the mountain (itself possessing great mana) and the bombs. That's power. The 11 tracks on this Instrumental Collection feature masters young and old from Dancing Cat's Slack Key series. Pianist George Winston has been recording these guys for years now, and even taught himself to play Slack Key, as heard on his duet with Keola Beamer. Here is Cyril Pahinui, son of the great Gabby Pahinui, whose recordings with Ry Cooder introduced many to the subtler sounds of Hawaii. Here is Sonny Chillingworth, who has passed, playing a tune he heard in a dream. Here is a duet of Slack Key played with acoustic lap slide, dobro style - the first recording of its kind. Here, too, are youngsters like Ozzie Kotani, playing his sister's big old beach guitar, which, cracked and chipped though it is, still has that resonance, that mana. --RhythmMusic

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Sampler Album I Own June 23, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Hawaiian music can mean many things - anything from old steel guitar to contemporary "Jawaiian" music. Out of all the genres of Hawaiian music however, slack key guitar is probably the most accessible to those unfamiliar with any type. Simply put, slack key is a unique form of tuning and playing acoustic guitar - often with gorgeous results!
This collection of songs from Hawaii's most famous living slack key guitar artists is some of the most beautiful and relaxing music you may ever hear. Listening to each song, it is hard to believe that only one person is playing - each artist has a unique technique of playing both bass and melody at the same time.
If I were trapped on a desert island with the choice of only one CD, this would probably be the one I would choose. One final note - this CD contains excellent liner notes as well, which makes it is the perfect intro to slack key information-wise as well as musically.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sounds of home never sounded so good! July 29, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Having once lived in the islands, this album was a real find for me. The music is great to have in the background at work or at home (it's marvelous to have on the CD player when getting a massage). It's relaxing and relieves stress (hence the massage music).
If you've never heard slack key you are in for a real treat, and this album is a marvelous introduction. The artists, while well known in the islands, may not be familiar to you. However, they are the best around, and will surely have you hooked with the first cut!
Honolulu City Lights continues to touch my heart whether instrumental (as it is here) or vocal (on the Beamers' album).
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet...sweet...da kine.. September 23, 2003
Format:Audio CD
I am really shocked to see that this CD is in the top 1,500 in sales rank. That is a great suprise. More people into slack key than I knew. Cyril Pahinui's opener is a 12-string masterpiece, and my favorite cut is a classical guitar slack key track, "Pohakuloa", done by Moses Kahumoku. His style is simply as heartfelt as it comes. Keola Beamer is represented on this one, too. Might I suggest a CD by John Keawe, "Auhele" for some more serious mastery of this beautiful and unique genre. ALOHA!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most expressive instrument. June 25, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This is definitely different from the Hawaiian music I used to hear in the old days. There's more heart and soul, more imagery here.
Noted pianist George Winston produced this CD for the purpose of bringing the solo guitar to the forefront, featuring a number of quite talented players. The result is harmonious music which is quite soothing to the ears, and yet alive with vibrancy. George Winston proves his versatility by playing the guitar with Keola Beamer on "Kalena Kai", a standout cut. Also especially notable are Ledward Kaapana's "Whee Ha Swing" and Keola Beamer again with "E Ku'u Morning Dew".
So if, like me, you're unlikely to be visiting Hawaii in person, stretch out then in your back yard with this CD on your player and a cool tropical type drink in hand...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I bought my wife this CD for her birthday. My musical reality was rocked forever at hearing the absolute beauty of this soulful, relatively unknown style. I am a surfer and have surfed in Hawai'i and spent lots of time with the local surfers there. They showed us lots of aloha and they are wonderful people with lots of respect for the ocean, land, etc.. Slack Key is an expression of this... played from the heart-- just beautiful. Hearing it made me want to play it-- to express the aloha "I" have inside. I even bought a Koa guitar to keep it pure (and a high end one to ensure I learn).
I'm just a sentimental fool (as Brian Ferry said).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding May 28, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
If you are looking for one CD to introduce yourself to this style of music, buy this CD. There is not a single bad track on the CD.
The liner notes are excellent, and if you particularly enjoy one artist, you can order the CD referenced for that artist.
I lived in Hawaii for ten years, and this CD put me right back on the beach at sunset. It is one of the most beautiful collections of music that I have ever heard.
You will not be disappointed in this CD.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soothing to the nth degree March 1, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Whenever I need to calm my nerves, this is near the top of my list of CDs to play. I think it's awesome, desert island kind of material. I don't review many CDs, but noticed that few have recommended. If you're considering it, you should treat yourself to the music.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired me to learn slack key, beautiful music January 26, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I have loved Hawaiian music and culture since my first visit to the islands years ago. I got this album and have played it hundreds of times now. It is soothing and inspiring and haunting. I am studying the slack key style in the hopes of someday better understanding and more deeply loving what I heard on this album.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars pleasant CD
This Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters CD is very pleasant listening. I sometimes wish it had more variety to it because after a while it all starts to sound the same. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Anaeee
5.0 out of 5 stars My cats favorite music...mine too!
Really great music, relaxing happy music! I heard someone playing this album and literally followed the music till I found the source...then had to buy it.
Published 2 months ago by Rohonda
4.0 out of 5 stars Taking Hawaii home with me
Very nice music. On the mellow side. Could use a bit more variety but I'm very pleased. buy it! It's good!
Published 2 months ago by musicfangerry
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
March 2014: Just went to the Hawaii State Museum last week. We go at least once a year. It's a very enjoyable place. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. nusser
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT.
This is what I listen to at work so that I can concentrate and block out all the noise there.
Published 5 months ago by Sarah W
5.0 out of 5 stars Soothing background music
Most of this music is soft slow soothing background music with a calming effect. However, it has the tuning of the slack key guitar so the music stays interesting.
Published 6 months ago by gard
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Product
Good product. Worth the price. If you think this might be what you're looking for today, give it a try.
Published 7 months ago by Tucson Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice and Easy
Got this album as a warm-up for our trip to the Islands. Still love the laid-back mood these songs evoke. Highly recommend.
Published 7 months ago by Avid Bargain Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps me calm
I play this at the office when I'm doing stressful work. Lovely and calming. I have no idea whether this is representative of the best slack key playing, but it definitely evokes... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Perf
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!
Classic Hawaiian instrumental music.played by the best artists. I hear it every day and I feel peaceful and calm. I love it!
Published 8 months ago by D. Gordon
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