Cyril Pahinui, slack-key guitarist par excellence, 1950-2018
November 24, 2018 3:19 PM   Subscribe

The "crown prince of Hawaiian slack-key guitar" died Nov. 11 at age 68. Pahinui, a National Heritage Fellow, is "widely recognized as one of Hawaii’s most gifted slack key guitarists and vocalists, whose technical virtuosity, rhythmic adaptations, and instrumental harmonics imparted the soul of Hawaiian music, and whose beautiful, emotive voice rendered an intimate picture of his Pacific island home." -- National Endowment for the Arts. Remembrances 1, 2. YouTube
posted by key_of_z (16 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
DAMN. The date is Nov. 17.
posted by key_of_z at 3:21 PM on November 24, 2018

posted by vverse23 at 3:42 PM on November 24, 2018

Very sad. I have a couple of his albums. Love slack-key music. Thanks for posting.
posted by MovableBookLady at 3:43 PM on November 24, 2018

Thank you, Mr. Pahinui, for your music, and for your efforts to preserve and grow the cultural traditions of your home and to share them with the world.

I suppose I should also spare a moment of thanks to pianist George Winston for introducing me, via his Dancing Cat Records, to the works of many of the greatest contemporary masters of Hawaiian slack key music and making Pahinui, among others, much more easily available to a worldwide audience. Without his distribution of their records and his promotion of their music via his Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters anthologies I would probably never have learned of Cyril Pahinui or the other musicians featured in the collections.

After checking out Pahinui's body of work, readers who like what they hear in the write-up's links could do worse than to pick practically any artist featured in the Dancing Cat anthologies to seek out more of their music.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:52 PM on November 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

Nerd of the North, I have that same album, which I picked up at a slack key guitar festival on Oahu, where I saw Cyril and several other slack key masters in concert. It is such a soul-feeding, life-affirming music, and Cyril brought so much light and love into this world. He will be missed, and he has inspired so many.
posted by vverse23 at 3:56 PM on November 24, 2018

posted by Lyme Drop at 4:03 PM on November 24, 2018

Something in that slack key sound seems fitting to this kind of post. Sweet and sad at the same time. Like his dad Gabby. I thought 68 sounded young, then read the article:

Pahinui had been hospitalized since Feb., 2016, over complications his widow, Chelle Pahinui, tells NPR were related to exposure to Agent Orange during his time serving in Vietnam.
posted by ecourbanist at 4:08 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I can't even begin to state what a loss this is for the Hawaii music scene. He's always been one of the most remarkable local musicians.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:27 PM on November 24, 2018

posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:34 PM on November 24, 2018

I'm sorry to hear of his passing. His music (and other slack key guitar music) is my go-to listening for tense workdays. It lifts and floats me out of tension. IT's so musical and lilting.

posted by Miko at 5:00 PM on November 24, 2018

posted by dantsea at 5:29 PM on November 24, 2018


Loved so much seeing him play a couple years ago at the bar of the Outrigger in Waikiki with his band members Jeff Au Hoy and Peter Wook Moon, you could tell he was struggling (he had to take many breaks) but it was beautiful, and I feel so lucky that I was able to see him perform.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 5:51 PM on November 24, 2018

posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:21 PM on November 24, 2018

posted by blob at 9:12 PM on November 24, 2018

posted by allthinky at 11:09 AM on November 25, 2018

posted by mule98J at 11:10 AM on November 25, 2018

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