Alan Akaka at Pyle Center

Alan Akaka, one of the world’s great Hawaiian lap steel guitarists and director of the Ke Kula Mele Hawai’i Music School in Kailua, Hawaii visited us in Madison. Mr. Akaka discussed Hawaiian music through the history of music and played examples, and Mr. Akaka performed traditional and new Hawaiian favorites. It was interesting to listen to Mr. Akaka talk of his former teacher, mentor and friend (one with tough musical love), Jerry Byrd. Jerry Byrd is someone whom I have enjoyed listening to for years, and his music never got old to me as it allowed me to travel by just opening my ears and closing my eyes. I was also thrilled to find the association between him and Debashish Bhattacharya, an Indian classical musician who plays the lap slide guitar. These kinds of musical friendships and fusions always capture my attention and while I wanted to hear more of his live playing and less talking about it, the event did have me searching through my musical collections looking for more of these fusions. Mr. Akaka is the past president of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association an organization with members throughout the world that strives to perpetuate the Hawaiian steel guitar… I saw forward on to the Islands, even if it is with eyes closed and ears wide.

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About grnarrow

Setlist Architect/Art Scene Checker-Outer/Sound Feeler

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