Live At Makawao Union

Naoto Kono and George Kahumoku, Jr. performing at Makawao Union Church, Maui, Hawaii - May 18, 2007

Here are two long awaited samples of the music from the May concert performed by Naoto Kono (zither) and George Kahumoku, Jr. (slack key guitar). If you missed that post, see "Music Makes Magic Happen" (May 20) for more about the artists, their instruments and the concert.

It was difficult to chose which pieces to share with you as there was quite a variety of styles and mix of the instruments. All fifteen were wonderful, but I chose two which I think allow you to hear each instrument as well as how they sound together.

(Note: All rights reserved by the artists. This music is protected by applicable copyright laws.)

Please listen to these through the best speakers you can. Enjoy.

The first tune is an original composition by Naoto Kono which features both artists together. It's called "Tahitian Blue" - click to play, 4 minutes.

Tahitian Blue

The other tune is "Queen's Prayer" being played solo by George Kahumoku, Jr. His guitar is tuned lower than usual for a slack key guitar and he is able to get some really nice full sounds from that.

This piece was written on March 22, 1895 by Queen Liliuokalani while she was being held prisoner by the businessmen who overthrew her monarchy with the help of US Marines. George's instrumental version is unusual as it uses the range of the guitar to set the tone of the situation that the Queen was in, and her depth of feeling when she wrote it. Also about 4 minutes.

Queen's Prayer

I'll be sure to let you know when a full CD of this concert is available. There is also discussion of a Japan tour by the two and another concert at the church on Maui. Stay "tuned".


Martin J Frid said...

Thanks fo making these unique tracks available!

Don Snabulus said...

I love the sound of that type of guitar. And Smedley Butler's words ring ever more true, "War is a racket..."

Pandabonium said...

Martin - you are welcome. Thanks to Naoto and George.

Snabby - George is amazing on it. He sang on a couple of the tunes too and has a nice voice.

If I find time I may do a post about the overthrow. It was shocking - the overt overthrow of a sovereign state which was at peace with the world and had treaties with the USA for the benefit of a few white businessmen.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Beautiful...like a warm summer breeze.

Listening to "Queen's Prayer", it sounds like his guitar is using something like open ("slide") tuning with the low string tuned to C. It's a great sound, whatever it is!

Something new for me to try, maybe?

ladybug said...

Lovely. Sorry I didn't get around to posting on the 1st one, although I had read it....

I hope they do tour Japan, and perhaps the mainland too; at least the West Coast (where they'd probably get the biggest audiences anyhoo)

Pandabonium said...

Moody - Not sure what his set up is, you no doubt have the ear for it. The slack key history on George's website (linked in the first post) is pretty interesting.

Ladybug - comments are always welcome but never obligatory. They're talking a week in Japan and another in Hawaii. Both of these guys have pretty busy schedules already - Naoto with concerts and George with music, teaching, and a farming.

Hill said...

Bravo! Bravo! Love, love, love, love a guitar. It is an aphrodisiac.

Lrong said...

Oooh, very nice songs indeed... relaxing...

agus said...

I was here yesterday afternoon. Played both tracks. Either I just had lunch or the music was delightfully soothing, I dozed of, twice, once for each track.

Either way, it was good. Lovely.

Pandabonium said...

Agus - "music soothes the savage breast." Glad you felt relaxed. Zither and slack key guitar can sure do that for us.

Happysurfer said...

PandaB, thank you for making them available. Awesome!

Pandabonium said...

Happy - thanks go to George and Naoto. Glad you enjoyed them.

Derek said...

George's 12 string guitar was made to order for George by Art Davis. (ADavisGuitars.com)

My opinion of that guitar is that any of you who order one are behind me on the waiting list. I had a really good guitar until I heard his.

Naoto's beautiful Concert Zither was made by Horst Wunsche:

Erlbacher Strasse 30
8258 Markneukirchen, Germany
011 374 22 3161

Safety Warning: The concert zither is not for those with a short attention span.

George has the guitar tuned in one of the F tunings in the selections above. To indicate the possibilities of slack key guitar tunings, I have a list of 122 slack key guitar tunings. Neither the F tuning used by George in the clips on this site, nor the F tuning that I use is on the list.

Sadly for us mortals, The bulk of the great in the sound comes from the hands that play those instruments and the decades of knowledge and practice that both George and Naoto have accrued. Your sound may vary.

Those who wish to hear more should look for a copy of Naoto's new CD " Falling in love with the Zither" which is readily available in Japan and available from me in the USA. or George's CD "E'Lili U" Which would be most easily obtained from his website:


A CD of the concert should be available in a few months. Stay Tuned.