‘A History of Hawaiian Steel Guitar’

Several years ago, Kauai musician Kirk Smart put on a series of shows entitled “A History of Jazz,” in which he walked his audiences through the history of the musical genre. 

“This is the next version,” he said of his upcoming show. “And it’s all based on the Hawaiian steel guitar.”

“A History of Hawaiian Steel Guitar” begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at Kauai Community College and will trace the history of the instrument from its invention here in the late 1800s up to today. 

Along the way, the Hawaiian steel — which is played on the lap with a steel bar — influenced country, blues, rock and roll and world music.

The event will feature performances by Donavon Frankenreiter, Pancho Graham, Eddie Lilikalani Punua, Lady Ipo, Malia Locey, Jeff Caldwell, Matt Morelock, students from the Hanalei Bay School of Music (Tone 11, OCDC, Violet Asuncion) and more. 

The audience is “in for a really good variety of music,” Smart said. “It’s really going to go through the range, early Hawaiian steel guitar styles through country, blues and rock and roll.”

Smart said he encourages everyone — young and old —

to attend, and that the show is all about promoting and perpetuating the instrument. 

“Steel guitar is kind of in danger of dying out. There aren’t a lot of younger people playing it,” he said. “Part of the idea is to interest another generation in this great instrument, get the kids into it.”

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children, and can be purchased at Hanalei Strings, Magic Dragon, Kauai Music & Sound, Scotty’s Music, Island Soap & Candle, and online at ksmartmusic.com. 

Information: 652-7226


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