Ledward Kaapana is widely acknowledged to be one of the most exciting and accomplished players in ki ho'alu, or slack key guitar style.
Playing in open-chord and other alternate tunings, Led's two-finger picking and alternating bass is reminiscent of the great blues and country guitarists, but with the licks and harmonies typical of Hawaiian traditional music. His playing is loose and improvisational, and his repertoire encompasses both quiet, beautiful melodies and rip-roaring show-stoppers with lightning-fast licks and fancy picking.
The beauty of the slack key style is that it's made up of simple chords and melodies, but an accomplished player then builds up improvised variations using interchangable licks and turnarounds similar to those in blues guitar. Ledward provides all the elements for making arrangements in this style, showing how he acheives the special sounds (damping, bass runs, hammers, pull-offs, trills, and other ornaments) that make each tune come alive.
Led's lesson starts in "taro patch" (open G) tuning with a lovely original piece that he calls Slack Key Lullaby
. As with each tune on this DVD, he breaks it down in detail, showing the basic melody, then adding harmony lines, bass rhythm and the embellishments that create the complete arrangement. He goes on to demonstrate numerous examples of Hawaiian-style turnarounds, as well as complete instrumentals such as Kuu Ipo Onaona, E Lili'u E
, and, switching to "wahine" tuning (DGDF#BD), the spectacular Slack Key Medley
With its wide range of tunes and techniques, this lesson will satisfy players who are novices in the slack key style, as well as those who consider themselves advanced players. Ledward has given us something for everyone, and this DVD lesson will give you much to work on.