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Eleventh annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival set for April 12-14

By Staff | Mar 21, 2019

LAHAINA – The 11th annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is being held Friday and Saturday, April 12-13, at the Outlets of Maui in Lahaina and on Sunday, April 14, at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului.

Created to preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian steel guitar, the only instrument thought to be indigenous to Hawaii, this festival features some of the world’s best players participating in performances, workshops and jam sessions along with presentations, exhibits and cultural activities. Admission is free.

Headliners showcased during the weekend’s events are Alan Akaka, Bobby Ingano, Greg Sardinha, Geronimo “Geri” Valdriz, Kapono Lopes and Konapiliahi Lau along with Adam Asing and Kaipo Asing. Maui actress, comedienne, storyteller and radio personality Kathy Collins is the emcee for the weekend’s performances.

Friday and Saturday evening ho’olaule’a take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Outlets of Maui, and Grammy Award-winning musician George Kahumoku Jr. will join Ingano as special guest on Friday night. Kanakapila at Pi Artisan Pizzeria follow the evening concerts, and all are invited to bring their instruments and join in these jam sessions.

Daytime entertainment takes place on the main stage from 2 to 3 p.m. on Friday featuring a performance by Kuikawa, singers and musicians who met as students at the University of Hawaii Maui College Institute of Hawaiian Music. On Saturday, Joel Katz takes the stage at 1:30 p.m., followed by Ke Kula Mele Hawaii NextGen. Hawaiian crafts, cultural activities and demonstrations are presented on both days throughout the Outlets of Maui starting at noon.

“The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness and appreciation of the Hawaiian steel guitar,” said Bryant Neal, executive director of Arts Education for Children Group, one of the non-profits organizing the event. “It’s not just for entertainment but also for community outreach and education.”

Steel guitar workshops are scheduled for Saturday, April 13, at the Story of Hawaii Museum. Conducted by master players Akaka and Ingano, topics include “What Tuning to Use” and “Chiming.” In addition to public performances, master players visit Maui public and private schools to perform and to teach students about the Hawaiian steel guitar.

On Sunday, April 14, the festival moves to Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, where Collins emcees performances that take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring all the festival’s performers (including NextGen, a group of youth steel players, some as young as 11).

Throughout the weekend, a collection of vintage steel guitars curated by Valdriz continues to be on display at the Story of Hawaii Museum at the Outlets of Maui.

The festival is presented free to the public by Maui’s Arts Education for Children Group, the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences in association with the Ke Kula Mele Hawaii School of Hawaiian Music, Outlets of Maui and Pi Artisan Pizzeria, along with grants and support from the County of Maui, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Outlets of Maui, Story of Hawaii Museum, WorldWide Music Ventures, and Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. Funding also comes from a silent auction during the festival and from donations and in-kind contributions from businesses, civic organizations and individuals.

Arts Education for Children Group (AECG), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1996, provides opportunities for artistic and cultural enrichment. Its programs include free community concerts, music workshops and arts enrichment camps. AECG also sponsors Jazz Maui’s annual East Meets West Festival of music and dance and the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival.

HIMELE, Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that supports music education and enrichment. By organizing and sponsoring community-based steel guitar festivals on Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii islands, as well as conducting workshops, exhibits and other music-related opportunities for the public, HIMELE educates, promotes and perpetuates Hawaiian music and culture.

For information, visit MauiSteelGuitarFestival.com or Hi Mele.org.