E Komo Mai (Welcome) to our slack key 'ohana (family).
Mahalo (thank you) for your support of the rare and beautiful Hawaiian tradition of slack key guitar. When you are visiting Kauai, come share a sunset or enjoy one of our concerts. When you are away from Kauai, you can always stay in touch through our website and free email newsletters. This nahenahe (soft and sweet) music will help you stay connected to the peace and tranquility of old Hawaii.
Doug McMaster has been playing slack key since a young child. Given this gift, he has the kuleana (responsibility) to ho'omau (continue the tradition) through sharing the music and stories, creating new songs in the old style, and recording. Sandy McMaster is a musician, writer, artist, and computer expert. She fell in love with the man and his music over twenty years ago. Together they are dedicated to sharing the beauty of ki ho'alu and the islands creating Aloha Plenty experiences for all.
Together, Doug & Sandy have produced and released:
* 4 instrumental slack key CDs- Hanalei Sunset, Kauai Homecoming, In A Land Called Hanalei, and Island of Peace
* a music documentary CD- Slack Key Story
* a slack key guided relaxation CD- Feel Better Music
* a slack key sampler CD including a track from each of their releases including the new 'Green Flash Slack Key' due for release in December 2004
* a Hanalei Sunsets Screensaver
By touching the hearts of visitors to the islands, they help spread the aloha spirit throughout the world.
Our concerts bring you closer to the Hawaii of 200 years ago... with traditional style slack key guitar, ukulele, ipu (gourd drum), ohe hano ihu (nose flute), and mo'olelo (storytelling).
Soft, magical, and sweet, ki ho'alu (slack key) guitar, was created by the people of Hawaii in the early 1800's. In ki ho'alu music, the hands enter into a beautiful and intricate dance through which the essences of the mystical islands of Hawaii are expressed.
The people of Hawaii created and evolved ki ho'alu using guitars left by European sailors as well as Spanish and Mexican cowboys who taught the Hawaiians how to manage the cattle that had been introduced to the islands. It quickly became family tradition with its tunings and songs held as tightly guarded family secrets, much like heirlooms of family recipes.
Slack key music is filled with mana ("spiritual force") and aloha ("divine breath, presence"). It expresses innermost feelings and honors the 'aina (land), creatures, events, and ancestors. As you listen, you can feel it touch you and open your heart to help you feel the essence of Hawaii.
Ki Ho'alu means 'to slacken or loosen the keys'. The strings were slackened to a tuning that sounded pleasing to the ears. Simultaneously playing a melody line and harmonies on the upper strings with the fingers and using the thumb to play rhythm patterns on the lower strings is the foundation of slack key. Most important is playing from the heart with great aloha. This traditional style of slack key is played nahenahe ("soft and sweet") either solo or with minimal accompaniment.