Pu'ukani
Steve Sano

Puukani demo.mp3
In Hawaiian, pu'ukani means sweet-toned. It is the sweet-toned sound of the acoustic guitar that provides the inspiration for this collection of solo guitar instrumentals performed by Steve Sano. Known as a conductor and choral pedagogue, Steve works in a very different media for this recording. Here, he presents thirteen pieces that reflect the influence of the ki ho 'alu (Hawaiian slack key guitar) style combined with his own unique fingerstyle aesthetic.

Song List
1.
Ku'u Lei Awapuhi [6:13]
2.
Botcha Waltz [3:33]
3.
Medley: Green Rose Hula/
Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai [4:26]
4.
Ke Aloha O Ka Haku [2:15]
5.
Paniolo Reel [3:29]
6.
Sanoe [3:45]
7.
Medley: Ahe Lau Makani/
Puna Paia A'ala [3:30]
8.
Hali'a Aloha [1:59]
9.
Manoa [4:00]
10.
Mirrors [3:03]
11.
Alaula [2:47]
12.
Wa'aloa Way [2:05]
13.
Lullaby Lulana [3:24]

Steve's Notes
By accident of birth, Steve Sano is a kotonk but his spirit is local. Born in Palo Alto, California, Steve discovered his Island connection while visiting his sister in Honolulu and getting to know his wife's local family and the Hawaiian music scene. Never shy about acquiring CDs, he grabbed a few ki ho'alu recordings and hasn't been the same since.

Drawn to the innovative style of Ozzie Kotani, Steve arranged for a lesson with the slack key master. Ozzie's artistry inspired Steve's exploration of ki ho'alu - an experience that has touched both his academic and artistic work.

At Stanford University, Associate Professor Sano's fortes are as a teacher in the classroom and as a conductor in the concert hall. In the classroom his interest in Hawaiian music inspired the seminar, Ki ho'alu: The New Renaissance of a Hawaiian Musical Tradition - a course that places slack key in its historical, social, cultural, and political context. In the concert hall, Steve has introduced Hawaiian music into the university's choral repertoire, and has helped bring slack key masters Keola Beamer, George Kahumoku, Jr., Ledward Kaapana and Ozzie Kotani to campus for sold out concerts.

During summers Steve steps off the conductor's podium and returns to the Islands to learn more about ki ho'alu and Hawai'i. Generous aunties and uncles welcome him into their homes, and the local music scene provides a never-ending wealth of inspiration and information for his study of ki ho'alu.

Artistically, Steve's deepening understanding of ki ho'alu and his aloha for the music of Hawai'i is reflected in the solo instrumentals presented here. Some of the pieces are well-known Hawaiian melodies. Some are original pieces inspired by Steve's visits to the Islands. Some reflect the influence of ki ho'alu and display characteristics of "traditional" slack key style. Others are simply "fingerstyle" - with an Island twist.

Keenly aware of his off-island origins, Steve continues to approach slack key with the care and responsibility he believes is demanded of all practitioners, especially those who approach it from outside the Island community. Acknowledging the spirit of those who have gone before him, Steve's goal is to approach the art form and its masters with reverence and respect. It is his hope that all students of slack key share these sensibilities, creating a community of players worthy of the powerful Hawaiian roots of ki ho'alu.

Credits
Steve Sano Hawaiian slack key guitar
Jay Kadis Recording session engineer
Daniel Ho Mixing and mastering
Record Label Daniel Ho Creations
Recorded 2000
Release Date February, 2001

TECHNICAL NOTES
Instruments used on this recording:
1997 Steve Grimes OM sized Beamer (http://www.maui.net/~grimer)
2000 Kenny Hill Munich (http://www.hillguitar.com/)
1982 C.F. Martin Company custom 00-21 (http://www.mguitar.com/)
The guitars were recorded with two Schoeps BLM microphones and one Neumann TLM 193
microphone running through a Mackie Digital 8 Bus mixing board to a Panasonic SV-3800 DAT
recorder. Sessions were monitored with Westlake BBSM-10 speakers.

Song Notes
1.
Ku'u Lei Awapuhi [6:13]
(Taro Patch tuning)
A traditional melody, Ku'u Lei Awapuhi was later set to a text by Emily Taylor in which she compares a lover to a ginger lei.



2.
Botcha Waltz [3:33]
(Standard tuning)
Botcha is Hawaiian Pidgin for "bath." In Hawai'i where the weather is warm and humid, evening baths are traditional. They are happy and relaxing times. Steve composed this pre-bath waltz in 1993.



3.
Medley: Green Rose Hula/Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai [4:26]
(Taro Patch tuning)
Green Rose Hula was composed by John Kameaaloha Almeida and compares a lover to the blossom of the green rose. This arrangement is by ki ho'alu master Ozzie Kotani. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai was composed by Edith K. Kanaka'ole and tells of the joys of going to the ocean and picking the limu (seaweed). The kaona, or hidden meaning, is much more intimate. Steve used German baroque composer Johann Pachelbel's famous Kanon to frame these pieces. Though the listener should be warned - Pachelbel's Kanon is not really a canon, but a passacaglia or its related form, a chaconne. "Canon" in this case is one of the most famous misnomers in classical western European musical literature.



4.
Ke Aloha O Ka Haku [2:15]
(Taro Patch tuning)
More commonly known as The Queen's Prayer, Queen Lili'uokalani herself translated the title as "The Lord's Mercy." In He Buke Mele Hawaii [sic], the unpublished collection of the Queen's songs housed in the Hawai'i State Archives, the Queen wrote at the bottom of the manuscript for this song, "Composed during my imprisonment at Iolani Palace [sic] by the Missionary party who overthrew my government" - referring to the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by U.S. business interests backed by the U.S. government. The song was composed on 22 March 1895 and is "lovingly dedicated" to the Queen's niece, Princess Victoria Ka'iulani. In this arrangement, Steve plays the third beat of the fourth measure of the melody with a descending 5th as originally written by the Queen - though this is not how it is most commonly sung today. He also omits the final "Amen" that appears in the Queen's manuscript.



5.
Paniolo Reel [3:29]
(Dropped D tuning)
The paniolo are the cowboys of Hawai'i. They learned cattle management and rope handling skills under the tutelage of the vaqueros, cowboys from Mexico who were hired by King Kamehameha III in 1832. The reel is a fast tempo dance in duple meter that dates back to 16th century Scotland and is also popular in the American folk dance idiom.



6.
Sanoe [3:45]
(Taro Patch tuning)
Queen Lili'uokalani composed Sanoe, one of her most famous songs, while still a princess in the court of her brother King David Kalakaua. The song describes a romance in the royal court. This version is based on Robert Cazimero's choral arrangement for the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest. Steve composed the interlude between the second and third verses for this recording. Queen Lili'uokalani originally wrote Sanoe in common time, though today it is almost always performed in triple meter. Where and how this change occurred is a mystery Steve is interested in solving.



7.
Medley: Ahe Lau Makani/Puna Paia A'ala [3:30]
(Taro Patch tuning)
Both of these waltzes by Queen Lili'uokalani were composed in 1868. Ahe Lau Makani was composed jointly with the Queen's sister Miriam Likelike and Kapoli, a mysterious collaborator who, to this day, remains unidentified. This arrangement is by Ozzie Kotani. The "Viennese-ness" of these two waltzes is especially evident in the hui, or chorus, of Puna Paia A'ala. Ahe Lau Makani describes a lover's sweet breath, while Puna Paia A'ala describes the sweet fragrance of hala in the shaded bowers of Puna on the Big Island of Hawai'i.



8.
Hali'a Aloha [1:59]
(Dropped D tuning)
Steve composed this nostalgic miniature in 1993. The title means "cherished memory."



9.
Manoa [4:00]
(Taro Patch tuning)
The trade winds bring showers and rainbows over the mountains every day into this beautiful Honolulu valley. Steve composed this piece using the characteristic slack key elements of alternating bass, melodies accompanied in parallel sixths, and commonly used vamps.



10.
Mirrors [3:03]
(Taro Patch tuning)
Steve composed this piece as an exercise exploring non-conventional styles in Taro Patch tuning. It's also a little compositional conundrum: the front is the back is the front . . .



11.
Alaula [2:47]
(Taro Patch tuning)
A ballad in gently rocking triple meter, Steve was inspired to compose this piece while watching the glow of sunset over the ocean just before dusk falls.



12.
Wa'aloa Way [2:05]
(Taro Patch tuning)
According to Steve, "One of the best places in life is Aunty Elaine and Uncle Doug's house. Tucked in the back of Manoa Valley, it glows with good vibes. This tune came to me late one night while contentedly hanging out and playing guitar on the living room floor."



13.
Lullaby Lulana [3:24]
(Dropped D tuning)
Goodnight . . .