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VIDEO | 01:04
Listen to Alan Akaka perform his own composition, ‘Kona Ka’a,’

Listen to Alan Akaka perform his own composition, ‘Kona Ka’a,’

Composer/ teacher/performer Alan Akaka has been playing the Hawaiian steel guitar for five decades. He hopes his music students will keep the tradition alive.

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The Hawaiian steel guitar became a cultural force in America at the turn of the century, popularized by troupes of traveling musicians from Hawaii. It evolved beyond its association with a tropical paradise to influence new genres of music, from bluegrass to jazz to rock and roll. But while the steel guitar can still be found in country and other types of music, the Hawaiian steel guitar garners little recognition today. Musician and teacher Alan Akaka has been playing Hawaiian steel guitar for more than 50 years and is working to keep the tradition alive. He wrote and performs “Kona Ka’a.”

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