Steel Trappings

The Next Generation

The Next Generation of Steel Guitarists and Musicians

December 23, 2018 • Addison ChingEntertainment

Next Generation (or NextGen) musicians is a name given to a group of youth musicians (currently ages 9-14) who are studying Hawaiian music under the direction of Kumu Alan Akaka at his Ke Kula Mele School of Hawaiian music. While NextGen originally identified young musicians who were studying the Hawaiian steel guitar at Ke Kula Mele, the term has now been expanded to include a wider range of young musicians playing other instruments such as the bass, guitar, and 'ukulele.

NextGen Musicians
NexGen Musicians at a recent performance. PC-Alan Akaka

The NextGen concept was developed by Kumu Alan Akaka about eight years ago. The NextGen team comprises musicians who excel in their craft and are willing to share their talents publicly at music festivals and other Hawaiian music events. All NextGen musicians play multiple instruments, and some are vocalists as well. These students represent the Next Generation of Hawaiian music entertainment and are being trained in traditional Hawaiian music styles. A part of their instruction involves the history of the music they are playing; its composer, origin, and purpose.

A youth student of Ke Kula Mele becomes a member of the NextGen team by demonstrating his or her musical skill and performance readiness, no matter what age. A youth student will know they have reached NextGen status when they are called upon to participate in a public performance venue representing Ke Kula Mele. Upon graduation from high school, a NextGen musician becomes a NextGen alumnus.

NextGen Rehearsal
NexGen Musicians rehearse for an upcoming performance. PC-Alan Akaka

NextGen musicians perform regularly at HIMELE-produced Hawaiian steel guitar festivals statewide, at Ke Kula Mele concerts, and at special events. All are skilled musicians who have developed stage and performance presence and are excited about sharing their talents with others. Each performance featuring the NextGen may feature a different group of NextGen musicians as determined by their availability, readiness, and performance requirements. But no matter who participates, audiences are sure to delight in the skill and persona of these Next Generation musicians.



May, 2019
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Festivals and Conventions
Instruments and Luthiers


Author Index



Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Ka Makana Ali‘i
February 16, 2019 — Ka Makana Ali‘i Shopping Center, Kapolei

Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival
March 1-2, 2019 — Courtyard Kaua‘i at Coconut Beach, Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i
February 28-29, 2020 — Courtyard Kaua‘i at Coconut Beach, Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i
Maui Steel Guitar Camp
TBD — Maui site

Maui Steel Guitar Festival
April 12-13, 2019 — Outlets of Maui, Lahaina, Maui
April 14, 2019 — Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Kahului, Maui

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Mini-Expo at Windward Mall
June 1, 2019 — Windward Mall, Kaneohe

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall
June 8, 2019 — Windward Mall, Kaneohe

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week
July 15-20, 2019 — Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Monday-Thursday — Nightly Evening Performances
Friday-Saturday — Festival Ho‘olaule‘a Performances

AISGC Winchester Convention
July 18-20, 2019 — Winchester Towne Centre, Winchester, IN

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Kahala Mall — Keiki Kine
August 17, 2019 — Kahala Mall, Honolulu

HSGA Ft. Collins Festival
September 17-19, 2019 — Hilton Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO

Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Festival
December 13-15, 2019 (tentative, rescheduled) — Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kohala Coast, Hawai‘i Island.

Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
October 9-10, 2020 — Nightly Festival Ho‘olaule‘a — Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

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HIMELE is a Hawai'i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.