Slack-key guitar champ plays benefit

One of the world’s top slack-key guitar artists, George Kahumoku Jr., will perform June 8 at the Hood River Middle School auditorium. Tickets are $18 in advance, $10 for people under 21 and free to kids under 10. Tickets are available at Waucoma Bookstore or from members of Citizens for Responsible Growth. Call concert organizer Maui Meyer at 386-2330.

Born to a large family of native Hawaiian ancestry, Kahumoku is one of a select group of artists to record for George Winston’s “Slack-Key Master” series on Dancing Cat Records. Kahumoku is something of a Hawaiian renaissance man, and his wide-ranging interests inform his gentle, playful and relaxing music.

A previous winner of honors as Hawaii’s “Farmer of the Year,” Kahumoku has been playing the guitar since he was 12. He attended grade schools in Hawaii, earned a fine arts degree at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, worked the Alaska pipeline, and returned to Hawaii in the 1970s.

Playing with his brother Moses, Kahumoku contributed to three albums in the 1980s as part of The Kahumoku Brothers. Now living in Santa Cruz, Calif., and studying for his master’s in education, Kahumoku still travels and conducts slack-key guitar workshops whenever he can.

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