Statewide Story Ideas
Hawaii's Own Earns Highest Honor in Traditional and Folk Arts
In September, Hawaii’s own slack key and ukulele master and three-time Grammy award-nominee Ledward Kaapana joined eight other artists from around the nation in receiving the 2011 National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In its 30th year of presenting this award, the NEA is dedicated to honoring the artistic excellence of those who have carried on the nation’s traditional arts heritage.
Growing up in a musical family in the small town of Kalapana on Hawaii, the Big Island, Ledward, or “Led” as his friends call him, learned to play the old-style of Hawaiian music from his mom and uncle. Along with his twin brother Ned and cousin Dennis Pavao, they formed the group Hui Ohana making a name for themselves as Hawaiian music legends and one of the hottest groups of the 70s and 80s. Having performed extensively throughout the U.S. and worldwide, Led has provided a significant contribution to build awareness of ki hoalu (slack key guitar) and ukulele, instruments that have helped to define Hawaiian music in the mainstream industry. When Led’s not out sharing the sounds of the Hawaiian Islands with the rest of the world, you can often catch him performing at home including on Sunday evenings at Kona Brewing Co. in Hawaii Kai on Oahu.
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