Hawaii Musician Honored with American Folk Award

A musician that was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii has been named as a 2011 NEA National Heritage Fellow. Ledward “Led” Kaapana, a master of the ukulele and the slack key guitar, is an iconic legend in the Hawaiian music industry. Performing for over 40 years, Kaapana has dazzled audiences in Hawaii and abroad with his phenomenal guitar playing and his gorgeous vocal ability in singing leo ki’ eki’ e (falsetto).
The National Endowment for the Arts created the NEA Heritage Awards in 1982 as a way to honor American folk artists. An independent federal agency, the NEA awards nine fellowships each year. Fellows receive a $25,000 award and attend a banquet at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in September. Led Kaapana was instrumental in helping to perpetuate the culture of Hawaii during the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s. Growing up in a family full of musicians, Led’s family didn’t have electricity in their Hawaii home. Without a television or even a radio, the family entertained themselves by playing music. Kaapana has won multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards and earned multiple Grammy nominations throughout his career. http://www.ledkaapana.com/

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