Slackers in Paradise: Jim Kimo West & Ken Emerson

SANTA BARBARA ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENT CELEBRATION

Slackers in Paradise: Jim Kimo West & Ken Emerson

Fri 8.25.17

Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 5:30 pm

$12 in advance, $15 at door

Ken Emerson and Jim “Kimo” West are both living legends in the world of Hawaiian slack key and acoustic steel guitar. Their diverse musical influences venture beyond the islands toward the land of blues, ragtime and even jazz. Both have played on Grammy-winning records. Hawaiian slack key guitar (ki ho’alu) is one of the great acoustic guitar traditions of the world, dating back to the 1840’s when guitars were first brought to Hawaii and relatively unknown outside the islands until recently. In “Slack Key” some of the strings are slacked from standard tuning, with the bass, melody, and improvisation played at the same time, and is often played to accompany traditional dance or song.

Jim West
Jim West
While always retaining the heartfelt essence of traditional slack key, Jim “Kimo” West brings much of his own musical heritage to his original ki ho’alu instrumentals. His style can best be described as “nahenahe”, meaning “soft, sweet or gentle voice”, a fusion of old and new but still rooted deeply in tradition.
Ken Emerson
Ken Emerson
Ken plays both Hawaiian Slack Key and lap steel guitar and switches easily between them during his performance, laying his guitar on his lap and picking up a steel bar for an instrumental interlude. This requires a special finesse and light touch because the slack key guitar has lower action than a dedicated lap steel guitar.

He has developed his unique style through many musical genres. He has played his special blend of Blues/Jazz Hawaiian guitar for 40 years.. Born into a musical family, Ken grew up with his fathers' extensive record collection of jazz, swing, Hawaiian and world music styles.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, He played the folk and blues songs of the early '60s, learning right hand fingerstyle techniques that led to his development as a fingerstyle picker.
With the explosion of the San Francisco sound of the mid- later '60's Ken also immersed himself into rock and electric blues styles. He was particularly drawn to bottleneck and slide guitar.
In 1968 Ken's family moved to Hawaii. Absorbing the Hawaiian culture, Ken began studying Hawaiian language and music emulating the players of the 1920's and '30s era by listening to vintage Hawaiian 78 rpm records, zeroing in on the jazz and blues styles of Sol Ho'opi'i and Sol K. Bright.

Soon Ken was playing alongside such legendary performers as Gabby Pahinui, Genoa Keawe, Raymond Kane, and Moe Keale.
Dividing his time between Kaua'i and San Francisco, Ken plays many Hawaiian venues and festivals and frequently tours the east coast of the United States as well as Europe and Asia.
"Emerson writes pieces that update the classic sounds of Hawaiian Slack Key guitar. His unaccompanied songs have an open, relaxing quality to them, moving forward in a gentle rhythm.."
Jessy Terry, Rolling Stone Magazine

"Ken Emerson's style reflects the Hawaiian guitar's grassroots origins of a century ago. He taps into classic jazz and blues influences as well as Latin styles, completing a cultural circle from the first vaquero guitarists through jazz steel guitar virtuoso Sol Ho'opi'i and into new unexplored musical territories"
Maryanne Cord, Hanaola Records
Venue Information:
SOhO Restaurant and Music Club
1221 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101