Stanford News


CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (650) 723-2558

Slack key guitar festival at Stanford

Four of Hawaii's leading slack key guitar artists will be on hand to celebrate the 1997 Stanford Slack Key Guitar Festival ­ Ki Ho'alu ­ on Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19.

Modeled on the 1995 Stanford Taiko Invitational, the two-day festival features a symposium, master classes, a film and lu'au. A concert Saturday night has been sold out.

"These events are increasing Stanford's visibility in both multicultural arts presentations and advancing current scholarship in Pacific Rim/Basin musical and interdisciplinary studies," said Steve Sano, assistant professor of music and director of choral studies.

A student of and performer on slack key guitar, Sano will speak at a symposium titled "The New Renaissance of a Hawaiian Musical Tradition" at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 18, in Campbell Recital Hall. Other speakers include Linda Uyechi, Stanford lecturer in linguistics and Asian American studies; C. D. Ka'ala Carmach, ethnomusicologist; and Keola Beamer, slack key guitar master. The symposium is free and open to the public.

A genre of music that is unique to Hawaii, slack key guitar is a system of tuning that differs from that used on standard acoustic guitars. It developed when Spanish vaqueros from California went to Hawaii to herd cattle in the 1800s. The instruments they left behind were adapted by native Hawaiians.

"It's a genre of music that, in the past, hasn't received a lot of attention, and this symposium is kind of a first," Sano said. "The music department has always prided itself on combining the scholarly and the performing, and this is now expanding into some ethnic musics."

The festival is co-sponsored by the music department and Stanford Lively Arts. For more information, call 723-2551.


By Diane Manuel