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Featuring many of today s top Hawaiian Slack Key guitarists, HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY CHRISTMAS adds the perfect Hawaiian touch to your holiday season with eleven instrumentals and three vocals, each performed in the intimate kÃ¯ hÃ¶ alu (Slack Key) style. From the bouncy joy of fun songs like Jingle Bell Rock to the passionate beauty of The First Noel these timeless classics of standard and Hawaiian songs will fill your heart with aloha for many Christmases to come.
Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas is genre melding of the best sort: incredible guitar playing in the Hawaiian tradition dominates the disc, but the material is mostly familiar holiday carols. The result is a truly original and refreshingly low-key take on Christmas music. Keola Beamer's version of "Away in a Manger" is filled with jazzy bass touches; Led Kaapana and Bob Brozman's "Jingle Bells" is a hard-driving and virtuosic showpiece, with Brozman seemingly working the entire fretboard; and Bla Pahanui's arrangement of "O Come All Ye Faithful" is gorgeous and creative. Ozzie Kotani's "First Noel" is understated but a touch too sentimental and the three vocal tracks--by Dennis Kamakahi, Leonard Kwan, and Joanie amp; Ruth Komatsu--seem out of place amid all these lush guitar textures. That said, this is still a great album and a wonderful alternative for guitar lovers who've worn out their copies of John Fahey's legendary Christmas album. --Jason Verlinde --Amazon.com
This was the surprise hit of the 2000 Christmas season. Slack-key guitar is a style of playing where several strings have been tuned a half or full note below normal. The style originated in Hawaii -- it generally seems to make the music sound more relaxed (and island-like). However, this album is far from a novelty album -- the reason it was a surprise hit is that it is one of the best general-purpose instrumental Christmas albums available. All of the old standards are there (including Auld Lang Syne for New Year's) and a few specific Hawaiian tunes. They make fantastic background/easy listening music, as they are all unaccompanied tunes for one or two guitars. There are, unfortunately, three vocal tracks that Dancing Cat (the label) has chosen to include. While they are pretty good, they are sadly a different style and break up the nice mood of the pure instrumental. They are pretty good, though, and don't ruin the album. This is the best Christmas album I've purchased in a long time. Buy it amp; enjoy! --Epinions.com