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John Keawe is a songwriter and slack-key guitarist who was born on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the little town of Hawi in North Kohala. John grew up with rock and roll music and enjoyed listening to singer/songwriters.

After a four year tour in the Navy, John returned to his home and was drawn to the sound of Hawaiian slack-key. He listened and watched and taught himself to play this style of music. Through the years, he has developed his own distinct style.

About the same time, John began to perform publicly and also composing his own songs. Two of his early compositions “Ka`auhuhu Homestead” and “Big Island Magic” were chosen for album cuts on projects that involved various artists. Through the years, John has released multiple recordings under the label of Homestead Productions:

1993
Ho`onanea
Instrumental
1994
Auhele
Instrumental
1996
Mana`olana
Instrumental
1996
Christmas Is
Vocal & Instrumental
1999
Heartfelt
Vocal (Original Songs)
2002
Aloha Kaikua`ana
Instrumental + 2 vocals
2003
Keaweualani
Vocal & Instrumental
2006 Beautiful Hula Dancer Vocal & Instrumental
2008
Hawai`i Island... Is My Home
Vocal & Instrumental
2010 Play With Me Papa Vocal & Instrumental
2013 D~Tour Instrumental
2015 Ki Ho'alu Man Vocal
2016 Shine Vocal
2016 Loli'ana Instrumental

Of all his recordings, seven were nominated for Na Hoku HanoHano Awards (which is the local music awards). The CD “Ho`onanea” won that award in 1994 for best instrumental performance. At the 1998 Hawaii Music Awards, John won best slack-key artist for his ”Mana`olana” CD. In 2003 , John received a Hawaii Music Award for “Aloha Kaikua`ana.” He also won a Hoku Award for Ki-ho`alu which is a special award given to an artist for perpetuating the art of slack-key guitar.

In 2005, John was honored as a contributing artist on Hawaii's first Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album titled "Slack-key Guitar Vol. 2" by Palm Records.

2009 was a monumental year in John's career as he was the recipient of the first Na Hoku Hano Hano Award for Slack-Key Album of the Year for the CD "Hawai`i Island...Is My Home."

With his tenth album, "Play With Me Papa," John received his fourth Na Hoku Hano Hano award for Slack-Key Album of the Year in 2011.

 

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