The 2017 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall was held on Sunday, June 11, 2017. The festival featured performances from 11 AM to a little after 4 PM and presented steel guitar programs by Next Generation steel guitarists age 11 and 18, Alan Akaka, Eddie Palama, Isaac Akuna, Bobby Ingano, Steve Cheney, and Greg Sardinha. The event was hosted by Leilani Kahoano, substituting for previously-announced host Kimo Kahoano.
The versatility of the steel guitarists was demonstrated when some took up other instruments in support of the featured player. At one point Alan Akaka could be seen on upright bass, and Bobby Ingano played 'ukulele for several performers. Wayne Shishido, another steel guitarist who will be featured in the upcoming Waikiki Steel Guitar Week, helped out on ?ukulele for Isaac Akuna and Eddie Palama. Backup musicians were Adam Asing on upright bass and Kaipo Asing on guitar.
Next Generation steel guitarists were 11-year old Pono Fernandez singing and playing "No Ke Ahiahi" and "Henehene Kou Aka" and playing an Alan Akaka arrangement called "Waikiki Medley" and 18-year old Alexis Tolentino playing "Maui Chimes," Alan Akaka's arrangement of "Sand" and "Whispering Lullaby."
As with many other festivals, the finale featured many of the day's steel guitarists in a round-robin kanikapila-style version of "My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua Hawai?i."
This video shows the stylings of Alan Akaka, Greg Sardinha, Bobby Ingano, and Steve Cheney with Kaipo Asing on guitar and Kata Maduli on bass.
The Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is a series of festivals positioned for community outreach and offered at Honolulu shopping centers. The festival at Ka Makana Ali'i in Kapolei is positioned for Oahu's Leeward communities, while the festival at Windward Mall in Kane'ohe targets Windward communities.
Photo 1 - Ke Kula Mele Next Generation steel guitarist Pono Fernandez with Addison Ching, Alexis Tolentino,, Larry Holu, and Alan Akaka. pc-Don Touchi. Photo 2 - Festival Finale with Alan Akaka, Kaipo Asing, Greg Sardinha, Bobby Ingano, Kata Maduli, and Steve Cheney. pc-Addison Ching.
Video courtesy of Gale Warshawsky.
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