SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (May 3, 2013) -- Hawaiian music is known and celebrated across the world.

From blockbuster Hollywood movies to television commercials, you don't have to look far to find the islands' distinct sound.

A new concert series will be bringing Hawaiian music even closer to the Army community. In an effort to help the Army community develop a deeper understanding about the origins of Hawaiian music, the Native Hawaiian Liaison Office has arranged for a series of storytelling concerts to be held throughout the summer at Leilehua golf course.

The Leilehua Summer Concert Series will feature some of Hawaiian music's most prominent musicians and storytellers. Musicians will share the stories behind songs they have written and other traditional songs, known in Hawaiian as mele.

"Music is a very important part of our culture," explained award-winning musician Matthew Sproat, who is helping to coordinate the series. "Behind every song is a story. These stories help people develop a great appreciation of Hawai'i and its traditional culture."

Sproat explained that May is also known in the Hawaiian music community as "Mele Mei," an annual monthlong celebration of Hawaiian music, language and culture.

Numerous concerts occur throughout the month giving all Hawai'i residents opportunity to enjoy top-selling Hawaiian artists.

The monthlong celebration culminates on May 25 with the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, the annual music awards hosted by the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists.

The new Leilehua Summer Concert Series will be a welcome addition to the celebrations, as these concerts are the only free Hawaiian music concerts in central O'ahu.

Many of the concerts will feature "slack key" guitarists. Hawai'i is famed for inventing this playing technique, known in Hawaiian as kī hō'alu.

Slack key is when a guitar is tuned to an "open tuning," meaning a chord can be played without fretting any strings. This technique is achieved by detuning or "slacking" the strings until the six strings form a single chord.

The concert series will begin at 6 p.m., May 11, with a concert featuring three-time Grammy award-winning artists Rev. Dennis and his son David Kamakahi.

Rev. Kamakahi was recently honored by the Smithsonian when one of his guitars was added to the permanent collection of the Museum of American History.

Concerts will continue through the summer.

Leilehua Summer Concert Series

Concerts are 6--7:30 p.m. at the Leilehua Golf Course Bar and Grill. Admission is free, with food and drinks available for purchase. No outside food, beverages or coolers are allowed.
May 11, David and Dennis Kamakahi
June 7, Nathan Aweau
July 13, Mike Ka'awa
Aug. 10, Kawika Kahiapo

This event is being offered by the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawai'i's, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and the Native Hawaiian Liaison, in support of the Army's Native Hawaiian Covenant and its goal of creating learning opportunities for the Army and Native Hawaiian community. For more information, contact Schedule subject to change.