Eva Knott 4:04 a.m., May 23
Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas concert at AMSD (Dec. 15) almost sold out
Keoki Kahumoku, Herb Ohta Jr. and Chino Montero serving up holiday music of the islands
"Ticket sales have continued to climb -- a lot -- and we're now almost sold out of the upfront seats [with] dinner packages and upgrades," says AMSDconcerts honcho Carey Driscoll of the December 15 Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas performance slated for the Normal Heights church building housing the long-running local concert series originally introduced as Acoustic Music San Diego (seen below as drawn by me for the Reader's Overheard in San Diego comic strip).
Hawaiian music stand-outs Keoki Kahumoku, Herb Ohta Jr., and Chino Montero are on their Christmas Kanikapila tour. This intimate collaboration of three of Hawaii's finest players showcases traditional and contemporary material played individually and together on ukulele, and the distinctive slack key guitar styling that makes Hawaiian music beautiful and unique.
Two of the three performers featured in this show come from long lines of Hawaiian musical families, and each has appeared at AMSDconcerts on a number of previous occasions. Keoki Kahumoku is a Grammy and Na Hoku Award winner and son of legendary slack key guitarist George Kahumoku Jr. Herb Ohta Jr. is the son of the legendary ukulele master Ohta-san.
Both have retained the traditional sounds of their families and far outgrown their fathers shadows while developing their own distinct playing styles and sound. Chino Montero, from the island of Oahu, is best known as the Guitarist for Na Haku Hana-Ho winner Amy Hänaiali'I and has been mainstay in the genre for over 20 years. They'll also be accompanied by the HoneyBee Hula Dancers.
The trio is promoting their new album Christmas Kanikapila, which contains many of the songs they'll play on stage. The album will be available for purchase at the show.
Slack-key guitar is a fingerstyle genre of guitar music that originated in Hawaii. Its name refers to its characteristic open tunings: the English term is a translation of the Hawaiian kī hōʻalu, which means "loosen the [tuning] key". Most slack-key tunings can be achieved by starting with a guitar in standard tuning and detuning or "slacking" one or more of the strings until the six strings form a single chord, frequently G major.
The music developed a mainland audience after the Hawaiian music craze of the early 20th century, during which Hawaiian music came to be identified outside of Islands with the steel guitar and the ukulele.
One indication of slack key's increasing visibility beyond the Islands is that the first four winners of the Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album were slack key collections: Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1, Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar—Live from Maui, and Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar - Live in Concert from Maui.
$22 tickets for the Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas concert are still available at http://www.AMSDconcerts.com/December.html .