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.
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.