"An Evening with Hawaii Legend” Slack Key Master Ledward Kaapana and Tavana a “multi-instrumentalist from Honolulu, HI. who uses electronic drum triggers to lay down a variety of grooves with his feet while simultaneously playing guitar, banjo, lap steel, or ukulele and soulful, island inspired rock and blues.
The Palace Theater
Dec. 3, Sat. - Big Island
The Palace Theater
38 Haili St. Hilo, Hi. 96720
Tickets: $45. Gen. Adm. $60. Gold Circle
Doors: 6:00 pm. Show: 7:00 pm.
Go To: http://www.bluesbearhawaii.com or Call: 808-896-4845
www.bluesbearhawaii.com Palace Theater Box Office Mon. - Fri. 10am - 3pm. hilopalace.com 808-934-7010 , Hilo Music Exchange: Hilo; Kona Music Exchange - Kailua Kona; Kiernan Music - Old Town Kainaliu; Waimea General Store - Parker Square, Kamuela; Rogers Guitars - Pahoa
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 thrilling audiences 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 4 Grammy nominations in his own right and 2 wins on slack key compilations.
Like so many Hawaiians, Led 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,” says Led. “So we entertained ourselves. You could go to any house and everybody was playing music.”
Often everybody was playing music at a backyard party, many of which lasted for days. “People played in shifts, taking over when somebody went to sleep,” Led recalls. “You’d fall asleep to the music, wake up….and the music was still playing. That was the best alarm clock I ever had!”
It was at these family gatherings that Led learned to play in the old style, watching, listening, then imitating. Chief among his teachers were his mother, Mama Tina Kaapana, and his uncle Fred Punahoa. “Even today when I play, I still picture all the `ohana (family) getting together and sharing there songs and there aloha.”
Although isolated, outside influences did creep into Kalapana. Like most kids his age, Led loved to rock and roll and also listened to country, jazz, and Latin music. When he’d sneak a riff from a guitar hit of the day, like Pipeline or Walk Don’t Run, into his music his dad would tease, “Hey, that’s not slack key!” But nobody ever stopped him, they just encouraged him to “play what you feel and play with aloha.”
As teenagers, Led and his twin brother Ned and cousin Dennis Pavao formed the Hui Ohana, one of the hottest groups of the 70s and 80s and now legendary among Hawaiian musicians. The 70s saw the blossoming of the Hawaiian Renaissance, and Hui Ohana was a key part of that return to traditional Hawaiian culture and music. Young Hawaii Plays Old Hawaii, the title of their first recording, was also their statement of purpose.
The group produced 14 best-selling albums and made countless hundreds of live appearances, proudly sharing Kalapana’s musical traditions.
Led later formed another trio, I kona, releasing 6 albums with that group, including Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, Jus’ Press. He has also released a number of solo albums, including two Na Hoku Hanohano Instrumental Album of the Year winners, Lima Wela and Black Sand. Ki Ho`alu, Hawaiian Slack Key, Grandmaster Slack Key and Force of Nature (with Mike Kaawa) received Grammy nominations.
While recording for Dancing Cat Records, Led 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 formed his own recording company, Jus’ Press Productions, and released his Force of Nature CD, with 12-string virtuoso Mike Kaawa. The album earned a Grammy nomination in 2009 and won Led and Mike the Favorite Entertainer Award at the 2009 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. That was followed up with Jus’ Cruzin’, an all autoharp CD, in 2014, Jus’ Press Vol. 2, which took the 2016 ‘Ukulele Album of the Year Hoku, and, most recently, Jus’ Bes’, released in late 2017, a remastered retrospective of some of Led’s all time greatest hits.
Led tours the US extensively and has also appeared in Belgium, Germany, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Tahiti.
When home in Hawaii, Led can be found on Saturday evenings at Honey’s at the Ko`olau Golf Course in Kaneohe, where local talent and visiting musicians from the four corners of the globe drop in to join the “back yard” party. Check him out: https://ledkaapana.com/
“My rig has grown over the years, and I now use six electronic drum pedals to achieve my desired sound. I perform everything live and use no looping. Everything is played moment to moment...It’s hard to explain how fun it is to do this. Its like having a whole band in your body and mind. And they can stop and go together on a dime!!! They can slow down, speed up or whatever in perfect unity! Every sound comes with its own identity, colors,and emotions creating a much larger pallet from which to express myself. Additionally, it gives my mind very little time to stray away from the music resulting in a truly meditative state.” The result of this exploration and improvisation became his 3rd Album - ‘Kicking and Screaming’ featuring hard-driving hits such as ‘Mystery’, ‘Wise Up’, and ‘County Line’ while also offering softer, more melodic tunes such as ‘Baby Blue’ which he wrote while trying to lull his newborn baby - Mavrik - to sleep one afternoon. His 4th album - ‘Aloha Spirit’ - was a Na Hoku Hanohano Award Nominee for Best Contemporary Album of the Year in 2018, and features Leon Mobley (Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals), Chris Chorney (Kanye West and Jay-Z), and Mike Lewis (Sammy Davis, The Temptations, Billy Joel), as well as other world class musicians - Mark Lindberg, Ken Likens, and Ane Pessin. The album displays Tavana’s versatility with crossover pop songs ‘SMH’, ‘Aloha Spirit’, and ‘Island Days,’ while still showcasing some of his traditional hard-driving rock style on ‘Walk My Way’ and ‘Glass Castle.’
Tavana has been the supporting act for Alabama Shakes, Shakey Graves, Xavier Rudd, Jenny Lewis, Julian Marley, and Kaleo to name just a few, and In 2009, Eddie Vedder invited Tavana to sing ‘Hawaii 78’ - a Hawaii anthem of sorts - with him at the Hawaii Theatre. “He’s more the exception than the rule, he is a great human and I’m glad to know him” said Vedder while introducing Tavana to the audience. From a recording of their performance together, Vedder produced a limited vinyl record that was sent out to 10,000 Pearl Jam fans.
After taking a few years off from touring to be back on Oahu with his family, Tavana spent a great deal of 2018 on the road touring on the US Mainland, in Japan, and in Canada and was honored to perform with such legendary musicians as Henry Kapono, John Cruz, Willie K, The Doobie Brothers, Lily Meola, and Leon Mobley.
In 2019, Tavana has his sights set on releasing another album that will showcase his ever-evolving, one- of-a-kind signature island-inspired rock-and-blues sound, while continuing to tour regularly both on the US Mainland and abroad.
Ledward Kaapana: Ledward
Yes. That's what we usually say. The spirit is where it comes from. For me, it's all spirit and love, a lot of love. There's a lot of love in the music, a lot of feelings. And it covers all that.
…. Ledward Kaapana 2011
If there's such a thing as Polynesian fusion rock, Tavana is its biggest star." ...
Jamie Win-penny, Honolulu Weekly