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World Music CD Reviews North American

Various Artists

By John Kuhlman
Published March 16, 2007

Masters Of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Vol. 1
DHC 80007

This casually assembled collection of slack-key guitar cuts probably serves best as an advertisement (if you haven't been there) or as a souvenir (if you have) for the weekly concerts given at the Ritz-Carlton on the island of Maui (the enclosed booklet includes the place’s phone number, if you want to make reservations) featuring such masters of the instrument as Ledward Kaapana, George Kahumoku Jr., Cyril Pahinui (Gaby’s son), Ozzie Kotani, Keoki Kahumoku and Daniel Ho. It's a nice enough showcase for slack key fans, though there aren’t many surprises here. The music stays well within the comfort zone of quiet, acoustic fingerpicking, sometimes accompanied with vocals in English or Hawaiian, but the guitar playing is always sweet and resonant, with the sound of quiet pealing bells. Not the most exciting record of the year, but it's nice to let a warm seabreeze part your hair for an hour or so.