The 2016 Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival will kick off at 11 A.M. on Saturday, July 16. Next Generation steel guitar students of Alan Akaka’s Ke Kula Mele Hawaii School of Hawaiian Music will start the day’s festivities.
While most festivals featuring these Next Generation steel guitarists normally include the Ke Kula Mele Ensemble—a group of adult Ke Kula Mele musicians providing backup to the steel guitarists, Saturday’s performance will feature an all-keiki (youth) group of backup musicians led by Kumu Alan Akaka. All Next Generation steel players will play other instruments when they are not the featured steel guitarist and student bassist Iosepa Lyman will join the group. These next generation performers range in age from 11 to 17 years old.
Pono Fernandez will be a first-time Next Generation festival performer. Also included will be veteran steel guitarists Mālie Lyman and Alexis Tolentino who have previously appeared at other festivals and entertainment venues. The Lymans appear with their mom Pomaika’i Lyman at various venues, while Alexis now appears with Ku’uipo Kumukahi and the Waikiki Serenaders at their weekly performance at the Royal Hawaiian Center.
The complete performance schedule for the July 16 festival can be viewed at the festival website.