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Experience Hawaiian slack key guitar in Grass Valley Saturday

George Kuo, Aaron Mahi and Ernie Cruz Jr. will bring their blend of traditional Hawaiian slack key guitar and vocal melodies to Grass Valley Saturday for a special concert presented by the Center for the Arts.

The trio is Kuo on 6-string and 12-string slack key guitar, Cruz on 6-string slack key guitar and Mahi on bass guitar.

Their album, Ho’olohe, was a final nominee at the 2004 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for the categories of Hawaiian Album of the Year and Best Male Vocalist (Martin Pahinui) of the Year.

Their Grass Valley performance will feature the intimacy of solo slack key guitar followed by a rousing trio jam session with spontaneous instrument solos and vocal harmonies creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a Hawaiian backyard party.

Kuo is known as one of Hawaii’s premiere Hawaiian slack key guitar artists playing in the traditional nahenahe (sweet, soothing) style. He bridges contemporary and traditional playing styles. Cruz is the lead singer of the 1990s Hawaiian group Ka’au Crater Boys. He is a multi-time Na Hoku Hanohano award winner both with Ka’au and as a solo artist.

Mahi was the conductor of the Royal Hawaiian Band for more than 24 years, between 1981 and 2005. He was the conductor of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra from 1988 through 1995.

He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut where he received his degree in music education.

Saturday’s show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 for members of the Center, $25 for the general public and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at or at BriarPatch Co-op.

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The Union Updated Feb 21, 2014 01:02PM Published Feb 20, 2014 09:26AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.