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Cindy Combs

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Kaua'i -based multi-instrumentalist Cindy Combs is one of the few women to master the slack key guitar tradition of Hawaii. A former student of influential slack key guitarist Keola Beamer, Combs continues to grow as a player, blending traditional Hawaiian music with cool jazz influences. Accompanied by her nine-piece band, Ha'awi Hemolele 'O Keakawaiola, and a hula dancer, Combs opened for Taj Mahal at a much-publicized benefit concert for Kaua'i community radio station, KKCR, in spring 2002. Appearing every Friday at Hanapepe Café in Hanapepe Town since 1997, Combs recently began performing, every Saturday, at the Kaua'i Coconut Beach Hotel. Music has played an essential role throughout Combs' life. Her mother played piano and organ while her father played violin. Although her birth certificate lists San Diego as her birthplace, she spent her early childhood traveling with her parents and sister. She lived briefly in the Canary Islands before settling in Honolulu at the age of ten. Her father, who had been a Pearl Harbor survivor, had previously lived in O'ahu. Playing ukulele as a youngster, Combs was deeply influenced by American singer/songwriters including Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Attending a concert by slack key guitar wiz Beamer, she was so impressed that she went backstage and convinced him to teach her to play slack key guitar. Combs made her recording debut on Like a Seabird in the Wind, an album by Jerry Santos and Robert Beaumont's duo, Olomana. In addition to recording two impressive solo albums -- Land of the Endless Summer in 1998 and Slack Key Lady in 2000 -- Combs has been featured on albums by Michael Barretto and the Ka'au Crater Boys. Sunny Rain appeared from RCA in 2007. ~ Craig Harris

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Years Active:

'90s, '00s