George Kuo is known as one of Hawaii’s premier Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar artists playing in the traditional nahenahe (sweet, soothing) style, bridging today’s generation with the older generations. George has been twice recognized with excellence in recording achievement by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, for Instrumental Album of the year in 1995 for Hawaiian Touch and 1996 for "Aloha No Na Kupuna – Love for the Elders". In 1986 Eddie Kamae asked George to join his group THE SONS OF HAWAII and in 2000 performed and recorded with Dennis & David Kamakahi & Martin Pahinui as the HUI ALOHA group. Highlights of George’s performing career are playing on the Garrison Keillor Prairie Home Companion Show with Chet Atkins and Johnny Gimble in 1993, and performing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Honolulu Symphony in 1997.
JIM "KIMO" WEST
Jim Kimo West is recognized as one of the world’s top “slack key” guitarists and brings his own unique musical perspective to this great acoustic guitar tradition. He is a 2021 Grammy® Award winner for his CD, “More Guitar Stories” and a 2019 Grammy® nominee for “Moku Maluhia-Peaceful Island”. He is also a winner of the 2008 Hawaii Music Awards, a three-time Na Hoku Hanohano (the Hawaiian “Grammy”) nominee and a two-time winner of the LA Treasures Award for his contributions toward the perpetuation of ki ho’alu. Kimo's film and TV credits include work for 20th Century Fox, Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and Marvel.
Born on the Island of Maui, Jeff Peterson grew up on the slopes of Haleakala where he was introduced to the rich heritage of Hawaiian music by his father, a "paniolo" (Hawaiian cowboy), on the Haleakala Ranch. Recognized as one of Hawaii’s most versatile musicians, Jeff Peterson is at the heart of the Hawaiian music scene today, having contributed to two Grammy Award-winning recordings and winner of eight Na Hōkū Hanohano Awards in Hawaii including Slack Key Album of the Year for "Maui on My Mind" in 2010, "Slack Key Travels" in 2014 and "O’ahu" in 2016 which also earned him Instrumental Song of the Year for the song "Old Pali". His latest release "Wahi Pana" is a full length performance and documentary film and CD soundtrack.
A member of Hawai`i’s famous musical Lim family, Sonny was born and raised in the heart of Hawaiian cowboy country on Hawai`i Island. Sonny was introduced to ki ho`alu as a child watching Gabby Pahinui perform at a lu`au in Kohala, his professional career began as a teenager when he commuted to Oahu from Hawai`i Island to perform with the Makaha Sons of Ni`ihau.
Sonny's first solo album in 2006, Slack Key Guitar: The Artistry of Sonny Lim, was a 48th GRAMMY® nominee in the Hawaiian Music category. One year prior to this nomination, he performed with 6 other solo artists on Hawai`i’s first GRAMMY® award-winning CD, Slack Key Guitar Volume 2. Sonny helped accept this inaugural Hawaiian GRAMMY® award on stage and his speech marked the first time the Hawaiian language had ever been spoken on the GRAMMY® stage.
Dr. Kamuela Kimokeo is a member of the Nā Hōku Hanohano award winning group Hiʻikua and is the head of the Music Department at Windward Community College where he teaches a variety of classes from ‘ukulele to music theory and history. He is also the driving force behind the Hawaiian Music Certificate Kaohekani.
He started playing music professionally with his Dad in Waikiki when he was 14 years old and has toured with the likes of Hawaiian music Hall-of-Famer, Jerry Santos, five time Grammy Nominee, Amy Hanaiali’i, and Raiatea Helm. As a recording artist, Kamuela was part of the Grammy Nominated and Hōkū award winning guitar album Slack Key Kings Vol. II where he played a solo original composition "Holumoana" and also recorded as part of the group Pilioha which was nominated for multiple awards.
For 40 years, the Makaha Sons have committed themselves to perpetuating traditional Hawaiian music throughout Hawai‘i and around the globe, considered to be one of Hawai‘i’s premiere Hawaiian musical groups. They continue to perpetuate that vibrant sound, full and rich, with harmonies that only they can create. Their incomparable vocal arrangements and delightful stage presence is filled with comical antics which have won the hearts of thousands of fans worldwide. Their performances have taken them to such prestigious places as Carnegie Hall in New York City, Washington, D. C., and have performed for both the President and Vice-President of the United States.
Making his Southern California Slack Key Festival debut in 2023!
Kainani Kahaunaele is a mele (Hawaiian song) enthusiast, singer, songwriter, teacher, and musician. She was born and raised in Anahola, Kauaʻi and has lived in Hilo, Hawaiʻi for 27 years as an advocate for Hawaiian language revitalization and the perpetuation of Hawaiian music through education and performance.
Her third and most recent recording, “Waipunalei,” won seven awards in six categories at the 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, including album of the year, female vocalist, Hawaiian music album, song of the year, haku mele and Hawaiian language performance.
‘Ukulele player Bryan Tolentino has been known for the past forty plus years as an accompanist for some of Hawaiʻi’s most well known and accomplished Hawaiian music artists and hula hālau. Bryan's unique “fairy dusting” (as he calls it) can be heard on scores of recordings for other artists as well as his own Nā Hōkū Hanohano and Grammy nominated CD’s.
2023 ARTIST LINEUP