Saturday, January 6, 2007
Peter OstroushkoMandolinist Peter Ostroushko grew up listening to mandolin, balalaika, and bandura tunes played at family get-togethers in the Ukrainian community of northeast Minneapolis. It's the music that provides the basis for many of his compositions. His first recording session was an uncredited mandolin set on Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. Since then, his compositions have been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, among others. Ken Burns used Ostroushko's music for his PBS documentary Lewis & Clark, and Twin Cities Public Television commissioned Peter to provide music for The Dakota Conflict. Among Peter's recent CDs is Postcards: Travels with a Great American Radio Show (Red House Records), songs he composed while on tour with A Prairie Home Companion.
Na Pali"A legendary and seldom-seen band." That's what one reporter called Na Pali. Maybe it's their easy-going approach to show business, or because they went 18 years between albums. In any case, when this Kaua'i-based group gets together, the sound is pure gold. They toured with blues great Taj Mahal as the Hula Blues Band, and last year finally followed up their 1987 debut recording with a new CD, Na Pali (Awapuhi Records). The group: Carlos Andrade is a slack-key guitarist, composer, and a professor at the University of Hawaii's Kamakaküokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. Pat Cockett (ukulele, slack-key guitar) is also a well-known composer. Recently retired from teaching high school science, he now has more time to devote to music. Fred Lunt (steel guitar) was born on Maui and raised on Oahu, where he still lives and works in real estate. A folk music buff since high school, Fred is also a member of a local folk-'60s rock-Hawaiian band called Hapa Folk. Pancho Graham (bass) grew up on Oahu and developed an interest in the slack-key style. He got to know the Carlos, Fred and Pat in the mid-'70s and wound up moving to Kaua'i, where he's a fulltime musician.
Danny CarvalhoWhen 16-year-old Danny Carvalho was just nine, his parents gave him an old guitar. Before anyone could say "slack key," he had learned 80 songs just by listening to CDs. His first composition was a sweet, sad song that has since become known as "Booboo's Lullaby" named for his pet dog. As a student of slack-key guitar master Ozzie Kotani, Carvalho's talents blossomed. He has gone on to play at slack-key guitar festivals on Oahu, Maui, and in Hilo. In 2004, he became the first slack-key artist to perform on National Public Radio's From the Top. That performance was included on the show's compilation CD From the Top - Volume Three. Danny's first CD, Slack Key JourneyOn My Way (Lava Rock Music), was released this year.
Owanna SalazarBorn and raised on the island of O'ahu, Owana Salazar grew up immersed in music and family history. (She's a descendant of King Kamehameha the Great, the unifier of Hawaii.) As a young girl, she studied the art of hula, a pursuit she continued at the University of Hawaii, where she was a music major. It was at the university that she first became interested in the Hawaiian slack-key style of guitar playing. Now a standout slack-key and steel guitar player, as well as a gifted singer, Salazar has performed in venues from Japan to Australia, Tahiti to New Zealand. She was the first woman to tour with the Hawaiian Slack Key Festival. In 2000, they wowed audiences in New York, Chicago and other mainland cities. Her most recent album, Hula Jazz (Punahele Productions), was honored by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts as Best Jazz Album of 2004.
PuamanaIrmgard Farden Aluli's legacy lives on. Puamana, the musical she group formed in 1975, featuring her two daughters, Mihana Souza (guitar, bass) and Aima McManus (ukulele, bass), and her niece Luanna McKenney (ukulele, guitar), continues to perform the traditional Hawaiian music and original songs Aluli taught them decades ago. The beloved Aluli, known to all as Auntie Irmgard, was inducted into the Hawaii Music Hall of Fame in 1998. She was honored as a Living Treasure by the Prince Kuhio Hawaiian Civic Club in 2001, two months before her death at age 89. For 14 years, Puamana was the big draw at The Willows restaurant in Honolulu. Now, they continue to perform at private functions, festivals, luaus and benefits throughout the islands. Puamana's CDs are Have a Smile and One Little Dream of You.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).