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Festival will explore how Hawaiian music influenced folk

July 1, 2019

HONOLULU (AP) — A new two-day festival on the island of Kauai aims to explore the influences traditional Hawaiian music has had on traditional folk music, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported .

The Kauai Folk Festival, scheduled for Sept. 28 and 29 in Lihue, is the brainchild of Matt Morelock, a multi-instrumentalist best known as a banjo player, the newspaper reported.

Morelock, who was raised on bluegrass and country music and previously produced a live-performance radio show called the “WDVX Blue Plate Special” in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been trying to grow Kauai’s folk music scene since he and his wife, Hollis Church, moved to Moloaa on the northeastern part of the island eight years ago.

“I discovered when I got here that there was robust support for Hawaiian music, and rightly so, but the connection between Hawaiian traditional music and traditional music from other parts for the world had not been fully explored,” said Morelock, who is director of the folk festival. “I began exploring on my own and found an amazing array of connections between Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian traditional music.”

While Morelock said it’s commonly known Hawaiians invented Hawaiian-style steel guitar playing, he’s identified other connections, including Hawaiian style vocal harmonies and yodeling.

“A diversity of subjects for songwriting and rhythms and pulses for American folk music didn’t exist until Hawaiian musicians started traveling throughout the world in the late royal era under King David Kalakaua,” Morelock told the Star-Advertiser. “Hawaiian musicians of that era were rock stars. They performed at expositions, royal palaces, world fairs and for heads of state. They were part of Hawaii’s forgotten past.”

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The dateline of this story has been corrected to Honolulu.

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