Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Kī hōaʻlu: The New Renaissance of a Hawaiian Musical Tradition



This course has been cancelled for this academic year.

Students must have access to a guitar.

A style of guitar playing originally developed in the Hawaiian Islands during the early 1800s, kī hōʻalu, or Hawaiian slack key guitar, is an art form that has experienced exposure and popularity in Hawaiʻi and worldwide. Its rise in popularity coincides with the increased awareness, dissemination, and growth of political activism directly relating to Hawaiian culture. In this on-line, synchronously-taught seminar we will explore the musical, cultural, historical, and political perspectives of Hawaiian music in general, and kī hōʻalu in particular, through critical listening, readings, discussion, and a conversation with guest slack key artist and 6-time Grammy winner Daniel Ho. With kī hōʻalu as the focus, we will learn about Hawaiian music and history, and explore the relationship between performance, cultural expression, community, and identity.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Stephen Sano

"My 'official' position at Stanford is as the Director of Choral Studies, in which capacity I conduct two of the Department of Music’s choral ensembles, teach conducting, and administrate the Choral Studies Program. In the choral arena, I’ve conducted festival, honor, and collegiate choirs from over 20 states as well as professional and collegiate choirs from England, Germany, Austria, Australia, Canada, and Japan. But, I also have deep and abiding passions in two areas of world musics: kī hōʻalu (Hawaiian slack key guitar) and taiko. As a practitioner of kī hōʻalu, my albums have been nominated for the first-round ballot of the Grammy Awards, and as finalists for the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award and the Hawaiian Music Award."