Noted pianist and ki ho'alu player
George Winston, who has recorded and played with some of the greatest
slack key musicians, says ";Patrick Landeza is one of the best and
most dedicated of the new generation of slack key players.";
Hawaiian slack key guitar first evolved in the 1830s (predating the
steel guitar genre by more than 60 years), when Mexican and Spanish
cowboys, hired by King Kamehameha III to teach Hawaiians better ranching
methods, brought guitars to entertain themselves. The Hawaiian cowboys,
or paniolo, quickly adopted the guitar into their culture,
calling it ki ho'alu, which literally translates into ";loosen
A century-and-a-half later, ki ho'alu would spellbind Patrick
as a teenager growing up in Berkeley, California. Patrick's parents,
Danny Landeza, Jr. of O'ahu, and Frances Kawaipulou Kuakini O'Sullivan
of Moloka'i, moved to the mainland in the 1950s, but kept close ties
to what so many Hawaiian songs call ";ku'u one hanau,"; or ";beloved
sands of my birth.";
It's fitting that Patrick, who is of Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese and
Irish ancestry, would be drawn to a musical genre evolved from a similarly
rich combination of heritages.
A few years after being first introduced to slack key at age 15 by
two uncles, Patrick discovered the ki ho'alu recordings of
slack key master Raymond Kane. ";He was my idol,"; said Patrick. ";I
listened to him religiously."; The two would soon meet at one of
Raymond's concerts in Berkeley, only two blocks from Patrick's house.
Taken by Patrick's passion for slack key, Raymond took the young man
as student. Patrick would travel to Hawai'i and pick up pointers from
Raymond, as well as other slack key masters such as George Kuo, Dennis
Kamakahi and the late Sonny Chillingworth. ";Patrick is a fine
slack key player!"; beamed Kane.
Nineteen-year-old Patrick started playing solo in 1992, opening tours
for Hawaiian artists like Israel ";Bruddah Iz"; Kamakawiwo'ole,
Cecilio & Kapono, Keali'i Reichel and HAPA. Patrick would join
backstage jam sessions with slack key masters who were also on tour.
Known simply as ";The Kid,"; he would often be mistaken for
an underage fan and prevented from entering venues. ";They had
to remind the venue that I was a performer,"; recalls Patrick.
In 1995, 1996, and 2003, Patrick was the only mainland performer to
be invited to the annual Bank of Hawai'i Ki ho'alu Festival, considered
the ";grand-daddy"; of all slack key events. ";Playing
the slack key fest was a dream come true for me,"; said Patrick.
In 1996, Patrick would venture further across the Pacific in a tour
throughout the Philippine Islands.
1998 would be a big year for Patrick. His original composition, Mahealani,
written for 1997 Miss Universe Brook Mahealani Lee, was featured on
her half-hour television special that aired before the 1998 Miss Universe
Later that year, Patrick released his first album, ";Pu'unaue"; (";to
share";), in which he mixes original compositions along with traditional
Hawaiian music. His special guests included Martin Pahinui, George
Kuo, Dennis Kamakahi, and Pekelo Cosma.
One of the few mainlanders accepted into the close-knit circle of
Hawaiian slack key artists, ";many people believe that Landeza
is on his way to becoming the mainland's leading players of ki
ho'alu,"; wrote Sandy Miranda of the San Francisco Sunday
Examiner & Chronicle in 1998.
In December 2001, Patrick released ";Christmas to Me."; Revealing
his numerous facets as an artist, Patrick's second album takes the
listener on a journey through many different musical forms and styles,
tying it all together with the common bond of acoustic ki ho'alu.
Among the talented guest artists on the album is legendary steel guitarist
Bobby Black, who has played with such bands as Commander Cody, New
Riders of the Purple Sage, Asleep at the Wheel and Barbara Mandrell.
Although a slack key artist for more than a decade, ki ho'alu has
been more of a passion than a profession for Patrick, a former middle
school vice-principal. Now, at 31, Patrick tours the nation regularly
with other slack key artists such as Cyril Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi. ";A
true innovator of Hawaiian Music and a vocalist of pure nahenahe (sweet
sounding) quality,"; Kamahahi says. Patrick also teaches ki
ho'alu through workshops and private lessons. ";Trying to
get a lesson with Landeza is like trying to get admitted to Stanford,"; joked
the Oakland Tribune's Harrington.
Patrick has guest lectured on slack key and on Asian Pacific American
issues at Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, University
of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-Monterey and
his alma mater California State University, Hayward.
In 2004, Patrick is wearing different hats covering all aspects of
being a full-time musician with the release of his instructional DVD, ";Hawaiian
Slack Key Guitar Made Easy"; (Lamb Productions), to making appearances
as an instructor at various workshops around the nation such as the
prestigious Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina and the Healdsburg
Guitar Festival. In addition, his lessons will be published in Acoustic
Guitar Magazine as a guest clinician.
As a producer, Landezapresents continues to bring slack key to different
markets introducing a variety of artists. From ";Hawaiian Music's
Next Generation";, (Keoki Kahumoku, Herb Ohta Jr., David Kamakahi,
Patrick Landeza) to ";The Slack Key All-Stars"; (Landeza,
Kawika Kahiapo, Mike Kaawa, Jeff Peterson, Milton Lau) and this year
introducing ";The Women of Slack Key";.
Musically, Landeza is currently working on his third CD to be released
in Fall 2004 entitled ";Slack Key World"; with special
guest appearances from George Winston, Cyril Pahinui, Sally Van Meter,
Raymond Kane, Bobby Black, Dennis and David Kamakahi and others.
";I am so grateful for the privilege of learning ki ho'alu from
the masters and being able to entertain so many people with that gift,"; said
Patrick. ";Now it's time for me to share the mana'o, or
knowledge and understanding, ith others.";