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Windward Heart

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Album Review

An installment in Dancing Cat's extensive slack-key guitar series. This one is from Bla Pahinui, one of the sons of legend Gabby Pahinui (and brother to co-legends Martin and Cyril Pahinui). This album collects a number of live solo performances from him. What one notices first of all is the repeated thumbnail strum that he plays rhythmically throughout his songs, something he picked up since playing a right-handed guitar upside down and backwards. Also, one might note that all of the songs are played in the same tuning, something rather rare for slack-key guitarists (it's his favorite). His sound is somewhat more informed by R&B than his family's general sound, but that is used to his credit. His voice is rather less deep and/or powerful than, say, Cyril's, which makes him a little less able to hold some of the slow, peaceful passages in the same way. Instead though, he plays more up-tempo, bouncier pieces. His technique is still outstanding, and his compositions are quite nice. For someone looking into slack-key recordings, anything connected to the Pahinui family is fair game (Cyril Pahinui, Gabby Pahinui, Martin Pahinui, Bla Pahinui, Atta Isaacs, Sonny Chillingworth), though true newcomers might do well to begin with the slightly more traditional sound of perhaps Cyril's recordings on Dancing Cat.


Genre: World

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The second oldest son of influential slack key guitarist Gabby Pahinui, James 'Bla' Pahinui has followed in his father's footsteps. An innovative slack key guitarist, in his own right, Pahinui is known for his distinctive phrasing. As he explained in a mid-'90s interview, "I like to stretch notes and take the melodies into new directions." Born in Honolulu and raised in Waimanolo, O'ahu, Pahinui was exposed to music from his earliest memory. As a youngster, he often attended the nightly jam sessions...
Full bio
Windward Heart, James "Bla" Pahinui
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Hawaii
  • Released: 06 June 2000

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