Hawaiian music returns to Center stage Saturday | TheUnion.com
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Hawaiian music returns to Center stage Saturday

Hawaiian string wizard and three time Grammy Nominee Led Kaapana and Hawaii’s 12-string guitar master Mike Kaawa return for a concert at The Center for the Arts Saturday.

Led Kaapana’s mastery of stringed instruments, particularly slack key guitar, and his extraordinary baritone and leo ki`eki`e (falsetto) voices, have made him a musical legend.

He has been performing for more than 40 years. With easy-going style and kolohe (rascal) charm, he has built a loyal corps of Led Heads from Brussels to his birthplace on the Big Island of Hawaii. Recognition by his peers earned Led Kaapana Grammy Award nominations in 2006, 2007 and 2009.



Like so many Hawaiians, Kaapana grew up in a musical family. In the tiny black sand bay village of Kalapana, there were few distractions.

“We didn’t have electricity, no television, not even much radio,” said Led. “So we entertained ourselves. You could go to any house and everybody was playing music.”




While recording for Dancing Cat Records, Led Kaapana produced a number of solo projects, duets, and a project with Allison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, and other bluegrass legends called, “Waltz of the Wind.”

He has worked with Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, and many other Nashville notables. Back at home, he has shared his talents on recordings with most of Hawaii’s top talents, including Aunty Genoa Keawe, Barney Isaacs, The Ho`opi`i Brothers, Melveen Leed, the Pahinui Brothers, Amy Hanaiali`i, and countless others.

In 2008, Led Kaapana formed his own recording company, Jus’ Press Productions, and released his CD, “Force of Nature” with 12-string virtuoso Mike Kaawa. The album earned a Grammy nomination in 2009 for “Best Hawaiian Music Album” and won Kaapana and Kaawa the “Favorite Entertainer Award” at the 2009 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Led Kaapana tours the U.S. extensively and has appeared in Belgium, Germany, Canada, Japan, and Tahiti.

Mike Kaawa is considered Hawaii’s finest 12-string guitar player and one of the best known and highly regarded musicians in Hawaii. With strong instrumentation and distinct vocal expression, Kaawa has created his own unique. He describes his music as “Hawaiian with an attitude.”

Saturday’s show is at 8 p.m. at the Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18 for members, $20 for non-members and are available at the Center’s Box Office, either in person, online or by phone and at BriarPatch Co-op. For more about the show, visit http://thecenterforthearts.org/ or call 530-274-8384.


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