Kapa’a, Kauai, March 2019
His music washes over me like a gentle wave. Her storytelling, sweet and rich, connecting the man, the music and the passion. They complement each other…knowing each rhythm and beat of life in the other.
Slack key guitar and ukulele. The evening, the music and the moment…a gift.
It was more than music. It was emotion. It was love. It was my heart beating. I was inspired, captivated. I felt its healing touch.
In the music, I am reminded of the importance of listening to the heart, the soul, the simplicity and beauty of life. In his music, I see and hear this. In each measure…the islands, the whales and dolphins, the birds, the majestic, the turquoise sea, Mike’s hand to hold. Unexpectedly, I feel it all and see it all as my own…pure…a gift from above.
It is said that slack key came to the islands by Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) who came to the islands to teach Hawaiian ranchers to manage cattle and who brought their guitars and music. When their work was done, they left the guitars as a gift. The islanders knew little of the structure of music but much about how to make beautiful sounds. Slack key guitar developed using multiple tunings. Technically very challenging, these multiple “tunings” that are sometimes undocumented or family secrets, require complex fingerings and techniques, and pure passion to play.
He says young people are not interested in learning slack key guitar these days, for it is too slow and too difficult. This musical art form was passed on within families… from an elder master…to a chosen child. As time and patience for learning, practicing and connection to tradition fade, the music may as well.
I hope he is wrong…maybe they just don’t hear the music calling them yet.
It is his mission to preserve and share its history. I feel I need to share their story with you.
Let the music give you peace.
Let it inspire you to live…dream…love…create beauty…make your own kind of music.
“Ua ola loko i ke aloha” – “Love gives life within”
Find Doug and Sandy McMaster on Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes