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Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival to feature free concerts, classes and cultural activities

By Staff | Apr 23, 2015

KAANAPALI – The seventh annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival will be held on April 24-26 at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. This free event features master Hawaiian steel guitar players from around the world performing and teaching the only instrument thought to be indigenous to Hawaii.

Headliners include Alan Akaka, Jeff Au Hoy, Bobby Ingano, Kiyoshi “Lion” Kobayashi, Patti Maxine, Eddie Palama, Ed Punua, Owana Salazar, Greg Sardinha and Maui steel guitarists Ross Kaaa, Joel Katz and Geri Valdriz.

“The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness and appreciation of the Hawaiian steel guitar and to preserve and perpetuate it,” said Bryant Neal, executive director of the Arts Education for Children Group, the nonprofit organization presenting the event.

Kathy Collins will serve as emcee for the ho’olaule’a on Friday and Saturday nights, each featuring a different lineup of players in concert. Kani ka pila (jam sessions) follow, and the public is welcome to participate (bring your own instruments).

Open stage performances take place during both days, with music performed by steel guitar bands from Hawaii, the U.S. Mainland, Japan and New Zealand.

Saturday workshops include instruction for playing steel guitar, ukulele and slack key; Hawaiian singing; and recording methods. Also on Saturday, cultural activities such as hula and lei-making will be offered.

On Sunday, Hawaiian steel guitarists will entertain from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s award-winning Champagne Brunch, the only event during the festival that has a fee. For reservations, call the hotel at 667-0124.

The festival also includes a community outreach in which participating master players visit Maui public and private schools to perform and to teach students about the Hawaiian steel guitar.

Presented by Arts Education for Children Group and produced by Ke Kula Mele School of Hawaiian Music, the festival is supported by Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Airlines and Budget Rent-a-Car. Funding also comes from donations and in-kind contributions from businesses, civic organizations and individuals.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.mauisteelguitarfestival.com.