There’s a reason he’s been called Hawaii’s Renaissance man: George Kahumoku Jr. is a multiple Grammy Award & Hoku Award winning master slack key guitarist, songwriter, world-traveling performer, high school and college teacher, artist and sculptor, storyteller and writer, farmer and entrepreneur.
In February of 2006, George and fellow slack key artists and producers were thrilled to receive the 48th Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Album for their compilation recording, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 1: Live in Concert from Maui. But George’s Grammy fame doesn’t stop there: The sequels to this recording, Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar: Live from Maui which includes additional artists (Dennis Kamakahi, Martin Pahinui, and Richard Ho’opi’i) won the 49th Grammy and then in 2008, Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar won the 50th Grammy Award. In 2009, The Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar was an honored Grammy nominee and the compilation. Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol.2 was released. All of these recordings are compilations from George’s weekly Wednesday night show, the prestigious Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Concert Series at the Napili Kai Beach Resort on Maui (www.slackkey.com). George is the musical host and features a different solo artist each week. This is the first long-running concert hall setting in Hawaii created to feature the great slack key performers of today.
George is currently living on Maui with his wife, Nancy, and teaching Drawing & Painting, Ceramics, and Guitar & Ukulele at the historic Lahainaluna High School. He has recently begun teaching Guitar at Maui Community College. George spends his free time maintaining his three-acre farm growing fruit and vegetables, dry-land taro (for his famous home-made poi) and tending his goats, chickens, ducks, and miniature horses. True to his Hawaiian heritage, wherever he goes, George brings bundles of fresh produce to share with friends and students.
His newest release, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 3 Live From Maui features George Kahumoku, Jr. plus Dennis Kamakahi, Sonny Lim, Keoki Kahumoku, Owana Salazar, Kawika Kahiapo, Daniel Ho, Richard Ho’opi’i, Bobby Ingano, Da 'Ukulele Boyz and Sterling Seaton.
His previous release, Kani Wai – Sound of Water, his finest work to date, is a duet CD with lap steel virtuoso and ethnomusicologist, Bob Brozman. It is a selection of traditional Hawaiian songs with George’s vocals and with extended instrumental interludes making a relaxed and playful blending of George’s signature 12-string slack key with Bob’s vintage acoustic lap steel.
George has also played slack key guitar in several documentary films about the music and cultural richness of the Hawaiian Islands, including the soundtrack for the 1993 film ‘Onipa’a (Kalama Productions), which chronicles the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Playing several of Lili`uokalani's songs in the film inspired George to release his first instrumental solo album, E Lili’u.
In 1997 and 2001, George released Drenched by Music and Hawaiian Love Songs on Dancing Cat Records, produced by George Winston, followed by a 2003 release of George Kahumoku Jr LIVE!! Footprints in the Poi, a collection of the best music and stories from two years of live performances on the mainland. A renowned story-teller, George then collaborated with long-time friend Paul Konwiser to write an expanded versions of his hilarious and entertaining on-stage stories in his book: A Hawaiian Life.
Subsequently, George connected with artist/producer Daniel Ho with whom he created six duet recordings: Hymns of Hawaii, Hymns of Hawaii, Vol. 2, Island Classics, and Classic Hawaiian Hulas, Vol. 1, 2, & 3. George’s earthy vocals and unique 12-string slack key sound is embellished by Daniel’s sparkling ukulele. George and Daniel won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award in 2000 and 2006 respectively for their Hymns of Hawaii and Hymns of Hawaii, Vol. 2.
For the last 13 years in June, George Kahumoku Jr.’s Annual Maui Slack Key Guitar and Ukulele Workshop takes place featuring the finest instructor-musicians including son, Keoki Kahumoku, Herb Ohta Jr, and Jeff Peterson. This workshop is one of the great musical learning experiences in the Islands today, and the result of George's belief in sharing, celebrating, and perpetuating the unique music and culture that is Hawaii.