Dancing Cat History
Dancing Cat Records' dual mission for the past 20 years has been to produce and promote the music of George Winston, as well as Hawaiian slack key guitar. The production wing of the company, Dancing Cat Productions, is the in-house management and concert production company for George Winston and also assists in the coordination of slack key guitar concerts.
Dancing Cat Records was founded in 1983 by pianist George Winston. His goal was to record both the musicians who have influenced his music and musicians whose music he felt needed to be preserved for future generations.
In 1985, Dancing Cat released solo guitar recordings by Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete; classical guitarist Michael Lorimer; American guitarist George Cromarty; as well as the New Orleans R&B pianist Professor Longhair and New Orleans song writer Shad Weathersby. Dancing Cat also released the soundtrack to the children's story THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, with narration by Meryl Streep and solo piano accompaniment by George Winston.
After accomplishing his goal of releasing albums by some of his longtime musical influences, George turned his attention to his favorite music, the fingerstyle solo guitar tradition from the Hawaiian Islands known as ki ho'alu or slack key guitar, which he had been listening to and studying for over twenty years. In 1988, George moved to focus Dancing Cat's efforts and resources on documenting and preserving this beautiful Hawaiian guitar style. He began producing a series of recordings of the older, more traditional slack key guitar masters, followed by recordings of the younger Hawaiian guitar players. This material became Dancing Cat's HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY GUITAR MASTERS SERIES.
As of 2008, Dancing Cat has produced 39 recordings in the ongoing HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY GUITAR MASTERS SERIES, the first of which was released in April of 1994. The guitarists recorded to date include: Keola Beamer, Bob Brozman, the late Sonny Chillingworth, Cindy Combs, the late Barney Isaacs, Ledward Kaapana, Moses Kahumoku, George Kahumoku, Ray Kane, Dennis Kamakahi, Ozzie Kotani, George Kuo, the late Leonard Kwan, James Bla Pahinui, Cyril Pahinui and Martin Pahinui. Seven recordings have been on Billboard's World Music Chart, with the HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY GUITAR MASTERS INSTRUMENTAL COLLECTION making it to #4. Six recordings have won Hawaii's annual Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. The holiday compilation KI HO'ALU CHRISTMAS was awarded best Christmas Album in 1996.
Each new Dancing Cat release is sent to over 1,000 print and television reviewers and writers around the country. Dancing Cat has been successful in reaching a large number of people across the U.S. and around the world through artist interviews and recording reviews which have appeared on the following:
TELEVISION: George Winston was featured in his own PBS concert special SEASONS IN CONCERT that aired nationally in December 1996. It included a slack key guitar duet with Keola Beamer and the great Chet Atkins.
Dancing Cat artists have also appeared on NBC's Today Show, CNN's Showbiz Today, QVC Home Shopping Network, The Disney Channel, Good Morning Buffalo, ABC News in Philadelphia, Bay TV in San Francisco, NBC News in Seattle, WGN's Morning News in Chicago and Fox's The Crier Report in New York.
RADIO: All of Dancing Cat's new releases are serviced to over 650 radio stations across the country and receive regular airplay on many world music shows, specialty programming and others. Some of the national radio programs Dancing Cat artists have been featured on include: National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Echoes, World Cafe, Mountain Stage, Monitor Radio, Anthem, West Coast Live and E-Town, as well as interviews on KCRW in Los Angeles, KPFA in Berkeley, KIMO in Seattle, KLAV in Las Vegas, KUSP and KPIG in Santa Cruz, KKUP in Cupertino, CA, KINE and KCCN in Honolulu, KKCR on Kauai and many others.
MAGAZINES: Our recordings have received rave reviews in Billboard, Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, Frets, Downbeat, Mix, Wired, New Review Of Records, Dirty Linen, Playboy (Japanese version), Folk Roots, Sunset, Honolulu, Aloha, Hawaii, Islands, Eco-Traveler, Escape, The Beat, Request, Soundboard, San Francisco Focus, Sing Out, Pulse, TV Guide and The New Yorker.
NEWSPAPER: Articles featuring Dancing Cat artists and recordings have appeared in major newspapers including: The New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Herald, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Weekly, L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Seattle Times, Miami Herald and USA Today.
Dancing Cat Records has worked closely with Windham Hill and BMG's publicity, sales and marketing departments, as well as their affiliates to coordinate national advertising campaigns and to establish co-op advertising with retail record stores across the country. Dancing Cat artists have made record store promotional appearances, performances and autograph sessions in the following areas: Seattle, Portland, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Austin, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago, New York, Ann Arbor, Philadelphia, Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and Paris.
With the help of nationally-known radio program producer Greg McVicar, Dancing Cat put together a one-hour radio special that was pressed to CD and serviced to over 1,300 radio stations and writers. The Language of Dreams was narrated by Haunani Apoliona and includes interviews with Keola Beamer, Sonny Chillingworth, Ray Kane, Cyril Pahinui, George Winston and others. The sole purpose of this CD was to educate the music industry as well as the general public across the country about traditional Hawaiian music in general and slack key guitar in particular. The Language of Dreams CDs were provided for promotional use only, to be aired by stations as a complete show, or edited to fit programming.
The music of Dancing Cat artists has been featured in the audio programming and in-flight magazines of U.S. Air, American Airlines, Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. From June to September 1995, Dancing Cat Records had a dedicated audio channel on all United Airlines flights. This channel featured the entire recording Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Instrumental Collection, complimented by an ad in Hemispheres in-flight magazine.
With the release of each new recording, Dancing Cat sends postcard announcements to our entire consumer mailing list.
We also market our releases to many communities across the country with large numbers of transplanted Hawaiians, as well as many Hawaiians-at-heart. Many of these communities have Hawaiian civic clubs and newsletters that we actively work with and advertise in.
George Winston also does his part to educate audiences around the world by playing a few slack key guitar songs at all of his approximately 110 solo piano concerts each year. George also does frequent national and local print, radio and TV interviews, where he always makes a special point to increase awareness about slack key guitar.
Dancing Cat has been bringing Hawaiian music to the Mainland since 1988, with over 180 concerts promoted, co-promoted or arranged through Dancing Cat Productions.
For the last few years, the company has been working with nationally-known concert talent buyers to coordinate concert dates for the artists in venues ranging from university performance centers and night clubs, to outdoor amphitheaters and large summer festival series.
Since its inception sixteen years ago, the company has also been involved in the production of more than 1,400 George Winston solo piano concerts across the U.S., in Europe and in Asia.
Wholesale Hawaiian Slack Key CDs
If you would like to carry any of our Hawaiian Slack Key CD catalog, please contact one of the following distributors:
The Islander Group (formerly Booklines Hawaii)
Phone: (808) 676-0116
Phone: (808) 573-2242
The Mountain Apple Company
Phone: (808) 597-1888
For any additional questions or if you would like a sample CD to play in your store or restaurant, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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