Steel Trappings

On the Playlist

On the Playlist: Danny Stewart

April 1, 2022 • Geronimo "Geri" ValdrizSteel Guitar History

"HAWAIIAN STEEL" is a weekly radio program that spotlights the Hawaiian steel guitar masters from the past to the present. "ON THE PLAYLIST" features the musicians heard on the program's playlist. This month we feature steel guitarist Danny Stewart!

Danny Kalauawa Stewart was born on August 5, 1907. He was raised in the Makiki neighborhood of Honolulu, Oahu. He was truly a giant in Hawaiian music, playing at night clubs, concerts, hotels, on the radio, and in the recording studios in New York City, Los Angeles, and Honolulu.

In 1925 Danny Stewart left Hawai‘i to tour the mainland with Johnny Noble's stage show "Pele and Lohiau." He wound up living in Los Angeles playing Hawaiian music and working at the Universal Studios. He was primarily a vocalist, composer, and steel guitarist, but he also played other instruments as needed.

Danny Stewart

Stewart was part of a circle of musicians calling themselves "The Islanders." They would often switch instruments, lead vocals, and steel guitar, forming many variations of the same group. The musicians included Andy Iona, Sam Koki and Danny Kua‘ana.

In the studio Danny Stewart played the steel guitar on recordings with many legends of Hawaiian music. Among them are Alfred Apaka, George Kainapau, Freckles Lyons, Augie Goupil, Bernie Ka‘ai Lewis, Johnny Noble, Sol K. Bright, Bing Crosby, Mahi Beamer, Don McDirmid, Harry Owens, Freddie and Ernie Tavares, and many others.

Stewart played the steel guitar on 20 sides with Andy Iona and the Islanders from 1934 to 1936 on Decca Records. Many fans mistakenly think that Iona is the steel guitarist, but Andy is leading the horn section and playing the saxophone and clarinet on these sessions. Stewart's single note solos and jazzy chord phrasing on steel guitar is warm and expressive, a mix of Hawaiian tone with an upbeat tempo and feel. There is great interplay between the steel guitar and the horns.

At Universal Studios Stewart played the background music for films, including "Aloma of the South Seas" in 1941, and "From Here to Eternity" in 1953.

Danny Stewart and Barney Isaacs
Danny Stewart and Barney Isaacs. pc-Steel Guitar Forum

When Jules Ah See passed away in 1960, Danny came home to Hawai‘i to take his place on the Hawai‘i Calls Radio show, alternating with Barney Isaacs on the steel guitar.

Danny Stewart wrote beautiful songs such as "Silhouette Hula," and the classic steel guitar instrumental "Whispering Lullabye." He originally played a Rickenbacher Frying Pan steel guitar in A6 tuning and later played a Magnatone Lyric console steel guitar tuned to B11.

Danny Stewart died on April 15, 1962 at age 55.

Today fans seek out the recordings of Danny Stewart. He continues to inspire steel guitarist seeking to emulate his fluid Hawaiian style. His music is now available on CD and online to a new generation of fans who can appreciate this innovative and unique Hawaiian musician!

On the Playlist of Hawaiian Steel: Danny Stewart

Song CD Album
Minnehaha At night by the Ocean / Cumquat
w/ Andy Iona and the Islanders
Lovely Island at Hawaii Hawaii / Calle Mayor
Lovely Hula Hands Hawaiian Favorites / MCA Records
w/ Alfred Apaka
Nani Wale ka Mahina Mele HI / Omagatoki
w/ Andy Iona and the Islanders
Mokihana Toomba / Cumquat
w/ Augie Goupil and the Royal Tahitians
Naughty Hula Eyes Songs of Old HI / Cumquat
w/ Andy Iona and the Islanders

"Hawaiian Steel" with Geri Valdriz is broadcast live every Tuesday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (HST) on Mana‘o Radio, Wailuku, Maui, Hawai‘i, KMNO, 91.7FM on the radio dial.

You can catch it on the air, or streaming live at www.manaoradio.com. Listeners can also access our online archives to enjoy previously recorded programs at your convenience. Just search "Listen on Demand" for past shows.

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2022 Festivals and Workshops

2022 Northern California Hawaiian Steel Guitar Symposium
August 14, 2022 – Cupertino, CA
Tuition from $100
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kahala Mall
August 27, 2022 – Kahala Mall, Honolulu, Hawai‘i
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Maui Steel Guitar Festival
October 15, 2022 – The Shops at Wailea, Wailea, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST
October 16, 2022 – Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Kahului, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST

Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani
December 8-11, 2022 – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kamuela, Hawai‘i Island

2022 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts
Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kahala Mall

August 27, 2022 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Livestream Open Stage Showcase

September 25, 2022 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani

December 10, 2022 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM HST
December 11, 2022 Saturday Twilight at Kalāhuipua‘a concert – 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM HST

2023 Festivals and Workshops
Kona Steel Guitar Festival   
March 24-25, 2023 – Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, Keauhou, Hawai‘i

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week   
July 10-15, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival   
July 14, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival   
July 15, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

2023 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts
Facebook LiveYouTube
Kona Steel Guitar Festival

March 25, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 12:00 Noon - 3 PM and 5 PM - 8 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival

July 14, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert (tentative) – 4PM - 6:30PM HST


Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival

July 15, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert (tentative) – 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST

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