JAHC concert to feature Hawaiian slack key guitarist and collaborators

From left, hula master Moanalani Beamer, slack key guitarist Keola Beamer and Native American flutist R.Carlos Nakai, who will be performing Saturday, Oct. 5 at the JDHS auditorium.

The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council will host their second concert of the season Saturday, featuring slack key guitarist Keola Beamer and Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai. The duo will perform Mãlama Ko Aloha “Keep Your Love” at 8 p.m. at Juneau Douglas High School Auditorium. Also performing will be hula master Moanalani Beamer and jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer.


The performance will present stories from Hawaiian history and legend in songs from a mix of traditions, cultures and genres. It is based on elements of a 2012 PBS TV special “Keola Beamer: Malama Ko Aloha (“Keep Your Love”)” that featured the four performers. The title is adapted from a maxim of generations of the Beamer family, which celebrates many facets of “aloha.”

Slack key guitarist and vocalist Beamer, hailed by Willie Nelson as the “best slack key guitar player on the planet,” was one of Hawai’i’s first recording artists to integrate Hawaiian chants and instruments into contemporary music. He was nominated for a Grammy in Hawaiian Music in 2011, and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, among many other awards. His film credits include featured songs on the soundtrack for The Descendants, nominated for five Oscars.

Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai is of Navajo-Ute heritage. Originally trained in classical trumpet and music theory, Nakai has released more than 35 albums and performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. His other collaborations include projects with guitarist William Eaton, flutist Paul Horn, and composer Phillip Glass, as well as various symphony orchestras. He received two gold records for “Canyon Trilogy” and “Earth Spirit” and has received nine Grammy Nominations.

Hula master Moanalani Beamer began her hula training at the age of four with Kumu Hula (hula master) Johnny Hokoana, and continued training extensively until she herself became a Kumu Hula in 2011. In performance she dances, chants, sings background vocals and plays several ancient Hawaiian percussive instruments, including `ili`ili (river stone “castanets”), ka`eke`eke (cut bamboo) and Ipu (gourd drum). She also teaches, sharing her hula knowledge with students on Maui, across the U.S. and in Japan and Europe.

This collaborative project began in 2005 when Keola Beamer began recording with jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer. Keezer’s previous collaborations include projects with Diana Krall, David Sanborn and Chick Corea, among others. He has an active career as a soloist and as a composer, as well, working with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Saint Joseph Ballet, the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

Tickets to Saturday’s concert, sponsored by The Silverbow Inn & Bakery, are available at the JACC, Hearthside Books, and online at www.jahc.org.


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