Continuing the tradition of ‘slack key’ Hawaiian guitar music spearheaded by their father, Gabby Pahinui, his offspring have also progressively melded their island sound with elements of soul, country and reggae. They are termed a ‘string band’ by dint of their use of guitar, ukulele, steel guitar and bass, and have in turn inspired a number of younger Hawaiian bands, including the Ho’opii Brothers and the Sam Bernard Trio. Cyril and Bla had originally contributed to their father’s 1975 recording with Ry Cooder, Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band Volume One. However, after his death they refrained from performing music together. In 1989, and at the suggestion of their mother Emily, the brothers recorded a follow-up collection of slack key guitar songs, the first time they had worked together since their father’s death. Cooder was once again involved in initiating proceedings, encouraging Bla to take time off from his job as policeman and recruiting the family’s third son, Martin, as well as Cyril. The results included treatments of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ and ‘My Old Friend The Blues’ in addition to traditional Hawaiian song. After supporting Randy Travis on a television special (he had come to Honolulu in search of their father whom he thought to be still alive), the band was put on a more permanent footing in the 90s.
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