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Masters of Hawaiian steel guitar to play at Kaanapali festival

By Staff | Apr 18, 2013

Alan Akaka demonstrates Hawaiian steel guitar technique. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALAN AKAKA.

KAANAPALI – The fifth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is set for 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.

Greg Sardinha (left) is among the Hawaiian steel guitar masters coming to Kaanapali for the festival.

Popular radio personality Alaka’i Peleka 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 this 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.

For more information, call (808) 283-3576 or visit www.mauisteelguitarfestival.com.