Masters of Hawaiian steel guitar to play at Kaanapali festival
KAANAPALI – The fifth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival will take place Friday through Sunday, April 19-21, at Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Celebrating the music created on the Hawaiian steel guitar, the festival features masters of the instrument, including Alan Akaka, Greg Sardinha, Bobby Ingano, Geri Valdriz, Ed Punua and Ross Ka’a’a, in free performances, presentations, workshops and jam sessions.
Alan Akaka and The Islanders will take the main stage at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night, April 19, followed by Greg Sardinha and friends. On Friday and Saturday nights from 9 to 11 p.m., the public is invited to join in kanikapila jam sessions hosted by the master players. These sessions provide an opportunity for guest musicians, students and aspiring artists to share their talents and learn from the masters. Bring your own instruments.
Popular radio personality Alaka’i Paleka will serve as mistress of ceremonies at the Steel Guitar Ho’olaule’a on Saturday night beginning at 5:30 p.m. Master players Sardinha, Ka’a’a, Valdriz, Ingano, Akaka and Punua will headline an evening concert of stellar steel guitar.
Daytime music workshops begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Topics include beginning Hawaiian steel guitar, recording tips, playing in the nahenahe style, and “Talk Story: The Songs of Barney Isaacs.”
Mele Fong will present ukulele workshops, and Leimomi Balcasco-Murray will teach hula classes at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Throughout the weekend, cultural activities such as lei making, Maori carving and storytelling will be offered.
In addition to the workshops on Saturday, a variety of steel guitar musicians, including Joel Katz, Punua, The Next Generation students of Ke Kula Mele Hawaii School of Hawaiian Music and players from Seattle, Washington and DeKalb, Illinois will entertain on stage.
On Sunday, April 21, the hotel’s famous Sunday Champagne Brunch in the Tiki Terrace from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. will feature entertainment by festival performers, including Sardinha, The Hawaiian Serenaders and Alan Akaka and The Islanders. This is the only event during the festival that is not free.
The festival is being presented by Arts Education for Children Group, a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 that is dedicated to providing opportunities for artistic and cultural enrichment.
Support for the festival comes from the County of Maui Office of Economic Development, Hawai’i Tourism Authority and Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Supporters also include Akina Aloha Tours, Aloha International Steel Guitar Club, Cord International, Dollar Rent-A-Car, Dorvin D. Leis Co. Inc., Hana Ola Records, Hawaiian Airlines, Hilo Hattie, Kamehameha Schools, Ke Kula Mele, Maui Divers Jewelry, Mountain Apple and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
For more information, call (808) 283-3576, visit www.mauisteelguitarfestival.com or find it on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mauisteelguitarfestival).