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Kani Kī Hō'alu

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Album Review

Another installment of the impeccable Slack Key Guitar Masters series on Dancing Cat, this album features Ozzie Kotani, a former student of the great Sonny Chillingworth and a topnotch performer in his own right. With a picking style that rings vaguely of classical guitar (though according to Kotani it definitely isn't), he plunges through a number of standards and original compositions for the slack key guitar. His playing works itself through an alternating bass that comes and goes throughout the backing of the songs, and an ability to express his emotions through the music. Cases in point: "Kani Kipaipai" (the sound of inspiration), dedicated to Chillingworth, is a higher-tempo piece with fewer of the occasional bitter tunings that the strings can emit, while "Ku'u Lei Poine'le" is a farewell for a pair of friends who had passed on, which conveys much more grief through the tunings, the tempo, and the picking styles. Kotani is definitely an expressive figure in the music — more so than some others. For fans of slack key, the name may already be known from his work with Chillingworth and others. For newcomers to the genre though, something with more vocal additions (perhaps Cyril Pahinui or Ray Kane) might be in order, even from the same series on Dancing Cat.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In addition to being one of Hawaii's most renowned players of the ki ho`alu (a slack key guitar instrument), Ozzie Kotani is also a teacher, arranger, and composer. Born in 1956, Kotani was raised in Pauoa, a neighborhood of Honolulu, and discovered music when he picked up the ukulele while still in elementary school. It was during high school that Kotani's musical interest turned to the ki ho`alu, after he heard slack key guitar master Keola Beamer on the radio. During 1975, he began to seriously...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Ozzie Kotani

Kani Kī Hō'alu, Ozzie Kotani
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  • €9.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Hawaii
  • Released: 25 April 1995

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