Alan Akaka and The Islanders
Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities Pavilion
Saturday May 5, 2:00 pm
Performing with Henry Allen in the Steel Guitar event
Saturday May 5, 4:00 pm
Performing in the Waikiki Showrooms event
Title of latest album: Simply Steel
Genre: Hawaiian, Acoustic / Slack-Key
Ke Kula Mele Hawai’i o Akaka, LLC; 2010
List price: $20
The album: An inspirational collection of Hawai‘i’s most beautiful songs done on the Hawaiian steel guitar by Alan Akaka.
Reviews about Akaka:
“From the strumming of ‘ukulele and guitars, to the lilt of the Hawaiian steel guitar, the boom of the upright string bass through the harmony of many voices we share the rich musical culture of Hawai‘i with you.”
“Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i o Akaka is a place that enriches the lives of students of all ages and skill levels through a fun and positive environment.”
“In the darkest hours of the night, two men hunch over computer keyboards, exchanging notes and tones and codes. One man is on the other side of the world, in Moscow. The other is high on the slopes of Keolu Hills on O‘ahu. Is this a story of international intrigue? Are these men spies sharing state secrets? No. The Russian is a student. The Hawaiian, Alan Akaka, is the kumu master of the steel guitar, teaching very long distance, via Skype.
Akaka is the founder and director of Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i, the Alan Akaka School of Hawaiian Music. His students, spread from Russia to Japan, learn in his living room, in his garage and from his office computer via Skype magic. He teaches guitar, steel guitar, ‘ukulele and upright bass. His students range from age 4 to 80-plus years old. The long-distance learners find him on the Internet. They are quick to say that by their second lesson they began saving for a trip to Hawai‘i to sit in on classes and hit every spot where Hawaiian music is played.”
Alan Akaka is from a family whose roots are deep in Hawaiian music. His father, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka and former director of the famous Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir, played an important role in Alan’s music beginnings and encouraged him through his development.
His music foundation was further expanded at family gatherings, Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawai‘i. Kumu (teacher) Akaka founded and directed the Kamehameha Middle School Na ‘Opio Singers and Ensemble. He was the director for the Performing Arts Academy at Kamehameha for 16 years.
As for the steel guitar, Alan has created his own sound and style, incorporating styles from the masters of steel – David Rogers, Benny Rogers, Jules Ah See, Billy Hew Len, David Keli‘i, Jake Keli’ikoa, and Jerry Byrd (who was his teacher).
Recording artist and leader of “The Islanders” Alan travels throughout the world as an entertainer and guest soloist perpetuating Hawaiian music while gaining renewed interest in the unique, lilting sound of the steel guitar. He plays weekly at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Duke’s Waikiki.
Alan is the past president of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association an organization with members throughout the world that strives to perpetuate the Hawaiian steel guitar.
Kaipo Asing (guitar) – As an entertainer he is highly regarded for his creative vocal style and keen harmony. Kaipo truly is a star in Waikiki playing at the Halekulani since the mid 1980’s. His musical ideas hint of jazz, swing, and even country delivering a fresh invigorating quality to the Islanders’ sound. No matter whether he plays an instrument or sings in full chest voice or high falsetto, Kaipo performs the Territorial style of Hawaiian music that continues to attract visitors to our Islands. He perpetuates the island music by training his sons in the traditional art of Hawaiian music.
Gary Aiko (bass) – Gary Aiko began his professional career as a singer in 1957 at the Waikiki Sands Restaurant doing four shows a night. Following that he played upright bass with Don Ho’s first group at Honey’s in Kane‘ohe and later at Honey’s in Waikiki. He also performed at the world famous Duke Kahanamoku’s at the International Market Place for two years. In 1966, he performed with famed Hawai’i Calls singer Haunani Kahalewai at the Kahala Hilton in the Hala Terrace. In that same year the entire cast went on a concert tour for two months through Japan and Hong Kong. He recently sang at Carnegie Hall with Nina Keali‘iwahamana, Joe Recca and Iwalani Kahalewai. He has traveled to Canada, Europe, and Brazil singing the songs of Old Hawai‘i. Known for his deep velvety voice Gary has become famous for his renditions of Hawaii’s love songs. Son of legendary Hawaiian singer Genoa Keawe, Gary plays regularly at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort’s Moana Terrace carrying on his mother’s musical legacy.
Musician’s other albums, labels, release dates:
How D’ya Do; Kealaonapua; 1987
At The Coco Palms; 1989
Islands Call; 1990
Golden Treasures of Hawai‘i; 1995
WITH VARIOUS ARTISTS
Ka Leo Hawai‘I, University of Hawai‘I at Manoa Hawaiian Language students; 1978
Benny Kalama – He Is Hawaiian Music with Hiram Olsen, Kalani Fernandes and Randy Oness; 1983
In the Hula Style, Genoa Keawe & Her Hawaiians; 1990
Postcards From Hawai‘i, Nancy & Vic Rittenband; 1993
Hula Hana Hou, Genoa Keawe & Her Hawaiians; 1994
Hali‘a Aloha, with Nina Keali‘iwahamana, Gary Aiko, Iwalani Kahalewai, Benny Kalama, Sonny Kamahele and Nanri san; 1994
Here In This Enchanted Place, with Nina Keali‘iwahamana, Gary Aiko, Mahi Beamer, Nanri san, Herb Ohta and other artists; 1995
Dreams of Hawai‘i, Jerry Byrd, Myra English, Nina Keali‘iwahamana, Gary Aiko, Greg Sardinha, Casey Olsen, Bud Tutmarc, Charlie Fukuba, Billy Hew Len, Fred Lunt, George “Keoki” Lake, Art Paralius, Yvonne Perry; 1995
Steel Guitar vol. 2, with Greg Sardinha, Casey Olsen, Bobby Ingano and others; 2003
Steel Guitar vol. 3, with Greg Sardinha, Casey Olsen and Paul Kim; 2005
Legends Of The Hawaiian Steel Guitar: Past, Present and Future; Hana Ola Records; 2006