Sunny Rain - Cindy Combs
This solo instrumental recording features five new compositions by Cindy, and eight of her beautiful arrangements of classic Hawaiian songs by other composers.
1. SUNNY RAIN (ALAN GAYLOR) 5:45
2. LAID BACK SLACK (CINDY COMBS) 3:53
3. KAMELENAHENAHEOKEKAI (CINDY COMBS) 3:53
4. DAYS OF MY YOUTH (KUI LEE) 4:37
5. PĀKALĀ (CINDY COMBS) 6:23
6. UA NOHO AU A KUPA / WAI’ALAE (EDWARD NAINOA/MEKIA KEALAKAI) 3:44
7. NĀMOLOKAMA (ALFRED ALOHIKEA) 2:00
8. MAUNA LOA (HELEN PARKER) 3:54
9. PŪ’OLO POINT (CINDY COMBS) 4:33
10. MAUNA LOA LEI (CINDY COMBS) 1:57
11. LULLABYE (GOODNIGHT KEIKI) (ROBERT BEAUMONT/CLIFFORD HOPPS) 4:27
12. ALOHA ‘OE Ā HUI HOU (JOHN G. EMERY) 5:25
13. NIGHT BLOOMING CEREUS (FRANK KAWAIKAPUOKALANI HEWETT) 4:52
SUNNY RAIN is dedicated to Jerry Santos with my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for his encouragement, support, and inspiration through the years. Thanks Jerry!
I woke up today to the sun shining through a misty rain outside my window. It’s a ‘laid back’ day. I don’t have anything I absolutely have to do, so I guess I’ll just take in the slack. I owe you a letter big time so here goes.
The nahenahe sound of the ocean makes me think I might go to the beach or just catch some rays on the back lanai. Raina is going surfing today. Maybe I’ll go with her. Like the days of my youth, I still love the sun but must avoid being out in it at high noon…..those damaging UV rays you know. Back in the day I’d be outside all day. Beach, surf, ranching, riding…no sun screen. I was used to seeing a tan on my face in the mirror. I swam every day when I was a youngster in Wai‘alae…skateboarding all over the place.
Doesn’t your love for Hawaii just keep growing and growing? She shines like the sun at midday…..a glistening jewel in the middle of the blue Pacific Ocean. From the Molokama waterfalls all the way to the slopes of Mauna Loa, these islands are so beautiful. Our earth island mother…..taking care of us. I feel so blessed to have finally settled here at Pū’olo Point.
I’m going to Millicent’s ‘Going Away’ party tonight so I need to get going…work on my tan! M is moving to O’ahu—Look out O’ahu!!! I’ll write more later…
(It’s 1 am…just a quick note before I go to sleep.)
Earlier this evening I was wondering how Aunty Nona is doing. Do you know? I hope she’s OK. She is such a special lady. I think I will send her a Mauna Loa lei for her birthday.
Millicent’s party was sooooo cool! We were by the bay across from the tennis courts and the moonrise was so awesome! It was this golden orange color shimmering on the water. My compads Rita, Barretto, Boogie…everybody was there. Great jams. Ho, the time just flew by…seems like we had just said goodnight to the keiki and then, before you knew it, it was time to say ‘aloha ‘oe ā hui hou. Plenty good fun! Gotta get some sleep…more tomorrow…Sweet dreams.
Wow! Last night I had a very vivid dream about Robert. It was so real. We were at a place…it was…like a park. He was on one side of a big, tall fence and I was on the other. There was a really pretty girl with him…I don’t know who she was…we talked for a little while…I can’t remember what we said…then he said, “I have to go.” He walked away and then I woke up. He didn’t say ‘next week’ like he used to. He just left. I wonder what he’s up to in spiritland? Probably jamming with Gabby every day!
Well, I’m looking forward to seeing you at the show…it’s on the 30th, right? You are always welcome to stay at my house, or just come by and hang out for a while and
compare our ‘latest hits’!...share a brand new song. I have really been getting into playing the piano again (now that I have one). I’ll serenade you!!
’K den Jerry. Know I love you and really appreciate all you have done for me over the years. I’ll light a candle for you tonight…the Virgin Mary’ one! Hahahahaha
Aloha Dear Listener,
SUNNY RAIN is a blend of contemporary and traditional slack key stylings coupled with my heartfelt appreciation of Hawaiian lyric and melody. Though these are all solo guitar instrumental arrangements, in my performance of the melodies that have lyrics, those lyrics and their sentiment are crucial in my interpretation and delivery of the piece…..its tempo, timbre, and tone. In rendering those tunes that have no lyrics, I feel lyrics are implied…the tunes are talking to me about places and people I know and love, and times in my life that bring cherished memories.
This record is a reflection of my development as an artist during a ten year period of some thirty plus years of playing and recording slack key. It is also testament to the value of encouragement which I have so graciously been given by George Winston, and a musical portrait of my gratitude; I am so very grateful to be living a Hawaiian life…to be a person living and loving each morning, noon, and night in my beloved Hawaiian home.
Born in San Diego on April 20, 1953 and a seasoned world traveler by the time she reached Hawai’i ten years later, Cindy Combs already knew how to read a bit of music, having had formal lessons on, of all things, the accordion. “Ours was a very musical family,” she remembers. “My parents and my sister and I played the piano. My dad played the clarinet and the harmonica. I was listening to their records of Johnny Mathis, Connie Francis, even Doris Day! I loved them! My mom was always telling me, ‘Now, Cindy, don’t sing at the dinner table!’ She laughs. “But in a really kind way because I was always singing. I couldn’t stop.”
Soon after arriving in Hawai’i, Cindy entered 5th grade at Royal School where every student was issued an ‘ukulele. “It was my first stringed instrument. I learned my first Hawaiian song, Koni Au, which is kind of funny because I realized years later that we had been taught a drinking song!! By Christmas, my parents had gotten me my own Martin ‘ukulele.”
At 12 Cindy traded her bicycle for her first guitar. “Through my mom’s record club I ordered Joan Baez’s first record. That really got me into folk music - singing and accompanying myself on the guitar. Then at 16 I heard Joni Mitchell and she rocked my world. Her tunings, lyrics, and vocal style touched my heart and inspired me to such a degree that later on in my career I stopped playing her songs. People said I sounded just like her, and I wanted to have my own sound.”
Fast forward to 1971, and the Hawaiian Renaissance was in full bloom. It proved to be a pivotal year in Cindy’s life.
That summer she saw an ad for Slack Key guitar lessons. “The teacher was Keola Beamer. The six weeks of six lessons I got from him changed my life! It was very synchronistic in the way it all came together.” Those six songs remain in her repertoire, and the G6th Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-E – from the lowest pitched string to the highest) and the C Wahine Tuning (C-G-D-G-B-E) are the two she plays the most in to this day.
Later that year she was introduced to Jerry Santos who was playing at Chuck’s Steakhouse in Hawai’i Kai. “My friend Ginger Johnson introduced me to him. I immediately felt at ease with him as he had, and still has, a definite charm! I was very impressed by the many facets of his unique musical style. His voice sounded so clear and expressive. I loved the way he used different genres - playing folk, blues, original compositions, as well as Hawaiian music. I started spending time with him, getting to know him, jamming with him, and we became good friends. He inspired me to go deeper into Hawaiian music. I started learning more Hawaiian songs and that, coupled with my learning Slack Key, opened up a new avenue of self expression that I might not have ventured into as far as I have, if it wasn’t for Jerry. He has definitely had a subtle yet unmistakable influence on me. I am a huge fan of his and consider myself very fortunate to have him as a friend.” Around 1974 Cindy introduced Jerry Santos to her friend Robert Beaumont. The two went on to form Olomana, and in 1976 their first album, LIKE A SEABIRD IN THE WIND, marked Cindy’s recording debut. “I played Slack Key guitar on O Malia. It was such an honor. They credited my playing as ‘a sweet touch from Cindy Combs.’ I was thrilled!” And SEABIRD marked Cindy’s record debut as a songwriter as well, with Jerry and Robert recording her original composition So Free. The original version of Lullabye that Cindy recorded on this album is also on SEABIRD.
In 1994 Cindy had begun gigging at the Hanapēpē Café on Kaua’i. “I was working on a remote radio broadcast for KUAI at the Café one Sunday and had taken a break. I was standing outside when I looked down the street and saw three mysterious figures approaching. It was like a scene from ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral!’ As they came closer, I recognized my friend Wayne Jacintho. With him were George Winston and his engineer Howard Johnston...a fortuitous meeting of Cindy, George, and Howard there in the middle of the street in little Hanapēpē town!”
George soon had her in front of the microphone in what Cindy calls “the Stone Church Sessions,” inside the acoustically perfect Waimea Foreign Church in Waimea, Kaua’i. “I simply cannot say enough about George and the impact he has had on me and my playing. It all started at the Stone Church when I discovered that George truly understood where I was coming from as a player and he gave me the inspiration and validation to explore the music further than I had up to that point….a process that continues to this day.” The “Stone Church” sessions, coupled with others over the next six years, led to the release of her first Dancing Cat album, SLACK KEY LADY, on September 11, 2001, nine years to the day following Hurricane ‘Iniki.
Today, Cindy continues her gig at the Hanapēpē Café, and she continues composing and arranging. Having toured in 2004 with Cyril Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi, late 2007 will see her on the road again. For Cindy’s tour schedule and more, visit www.slackkeylady.com.
2007 also brings SUNNY RAIN, Cindy’s second Dancing Cat release. It is a musical expression of the passage of a day, from when the rising sun lights up the falling rain, to the putting of the children to sleep with a lullaby. The album is a tribute to her unique style, showcasing her great arrangements of several Hawaiian classics and composers, as well as five of her original compositions. It is Cindy at her best: rich, deep, nuanced, and passionate. “A life lived well is a life filled with aloha,” she muses, “and Slack Key is an expression of that aloha. I sincerely hope my music reaches out to the listener and that it touches their heart as it has touched mine…bringing hope, healing, peace, and joy.”
(The tunings go from the lowest to the highest pitched strings. The lyrics to songs #6, #7, & #8 can be found at www.huapala.org)
1. SUNNY RAIN
by Alan Gaylor
Tuning: G6th (D-G-D-G-B-E) – from the lowest pitched string to the highest.
“I loved this tune from the first time I heard it. It’s inspired by the ‘liquid sunshine’ we often experience here on Kaua’i…..sunny rain on the oldest stone of the chain. There is a saying ‘into each life some rain must fall’. I think sometimes it is sunny rain, sometimes rainy rain, and sometimes it’s both. Please check out Alan Gaylor’s wonderful record ‘ANO ‘ANO to hear this song performed by the composer. Go to www.cdbaby.com and type ‘Pacific Ensemble’ in the ‘Artist’ box.” - Cindy
Cindy here uses the G6th Tuning, one of her two favorite tunings. Note the shimmering harmonics just after the introduction, at the end, and sometimes in the main body of the song. And in the first verse, note her use of her signature droning technique, with a B note played on the fourth fret of the third highest pitched string along with the open (unfretted) B note of the second highest pitched string.
She plays this song with a Latin-type rhythm (called the clave pattern in Latin music), the thumb plays the fifth or string sixth string (depending on the chord) on beat one of the measure, and the fourth string on beat “two-and”, and on beat four of the measure. She was inspired by Keola Beamer’s use of it in his composition Ka Makani ‘Ula ‘Ula in the G6th Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-E), on his recording SOLILOQUY-KA LEO O LOKO (Dancing Cat Records), and Cindy also recorded it in the G6th Tuning (with the title Makani ‘Ula ‘Ula) on her recording SLACK KEY LADY (Dancing Cat Records). Sonny Chillingworth was the first Slack Key guitarist to use it, and he has been the one who has used it most prominently, as on his composition Malasadas in the G Wahine Tuning (D-G-D-F#-B-D), on his recording WAIMEA COWBOY (Lehua Records).
2. LAID BACK SLACK
by Cindy Combs
Tuning: G6th (D-G-D-G-B-E)
“The idea here is… It’s like when you first wake up and your thoughts begin to turn to the day and what you want to do with it. The momentum gathers, and you’re off! Things to do, people to see… Hey! Wait a minute! Wasn’t I just dreaming?” - Cindy
An original long odyssey-style piece, going through several different sections and tempo changes. Note the use again of her drone technique (similar to the one used in Sunny Rain, song #1), with a G note played on the fourth highest pitched string along with the open (unfretted) G note on the third highest pitched string. Also note her soulful muting of the strings with the heel of her right hand midway through the song. Cindy has also played this song in the G Major “Taro Patch” Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), but here she plays it in the G6th Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-E).
by Cindy Combs
Tuning: C Wahine “Keola’s C” (C-G-D-G-B-E)
“This is inspired by my daughter’s Hawaiian name which means ‘The Sweet, Soft Song of the Sea.’ I joke and say I should have named her Kaleonuinuiokaloud, which means ‘the great big voice of LOUD’. She was a very active and vocal child!!! She is all grown up now…. And a bit more mellow…..unless she is playing the drums!” - Cindy
On this original inspired by her daughter, Cindy here uses the C Wahine Tuning, her other favorite tuning, and it is also called “Keola’s C” for the slack key guitarist Keola Beamer, who was the first one to prominently record in it and who Cindy learned it from.
This song features the beautiful distinctive characteristic of her playing: the use again of the drone technique, this time playing an E note on the fifth fret of the second highest string along with the open (unfretted) E note of the highest pitched first string. And note her distinctive pull-offs in the first verse and at the end of the second verse and elsewhere in the song, and her muting of the strings in the third verse. And note her Mariachi influenced sixth intervals in the song, inspired by the late great slack key guitarist Gabby Pahinui (1921-1980), from the way he played them on his version of Lei Nani in his C Wahine Tuning (C-G-E-G-B-E), on his 1972 album GABBY [the “Brown Album”] (Panini Records). The end part of the chorus features a beautiful chord progression of F Major, to E minor, to D7th, to G7th. Also note the C# Major to C Major impressionistic chords near the end.
4. DAYS OF MY YOUTH
by Kui Lee
Tuning: C Wahine (C-G-D-G-B-E)
“‘……time quickly passed, the years traveled on…’ My folks were big fans of Kui Lee and I grew up listening to his music. This song is one of the greatest that speaks to getting older and reflecting back on your life. ‘Now the child that I face, how familiar she seems. She’s wearing my eyes and living my dreams.’ So true!” - Cindy
By the great and influential singer, interpreter, guitarist and composer Kuiokalani Lee (1932-1966), who composed many classic songs, including this song, as well as I’ll Remember You, Lahainaluna, One Paddle Two Paddle, Ain’t No Big Thing, and Get On Home. He recorded one classic album THE EXTRAORDINARY KUI LEE (originally on Columbia Records, and reissued on Hana Ola Records), which was released in 1966 just three weeks after he passed on. His compositions and his interpretations of Hawaiian classics were both traditional and contemporary based, and he very much helped pave the way for the Hawaiian Renaissance in the late 1960s and the early 1970s.
Note the longing feeling of the C Major to the G minor chords (the I Major to the flat VII Major chords, which would be the C Major to B Flat Major chords in the key of C) after the first verse and at the end, giving an impression of the vastness of the ocean. This chord progression has seemingly expressed this universally: in the music of the Slack Key guitarists and composers Keola Beamer, Carlos Andrade, and Cindy Combs; in the playing of the late Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete, especially from his recording OCEAN MEMORIES (Samba Moon Records); in some of the songs of the American instrumental Surf Music scene of the early 1960s, such as Jack Nitzsche’s The Lonely Surfer, and Herb Alpert’s The Lonely Bull; in some songs from the American folk genre in the 1960s, especially in the early work of James Taylor; in some American jazz impressionistic songs from the 1960s; and more.
by Cindy Combs
Tuning: G6th (D-G-D-G-B-E)
“The sun shines and…..Surf’s Up!!!!! Don’t forget your sun screen or you’ll get sun scream! The intro and subsequent codas are played using the left forearm, adding a smooth slide up the bass D string up the frets and sometimes even all the way to the 12th fret, then resolving with the downbeat G bass. A playful yet effective affectation of the man who to me is THE SLACK KEY KING, Led Ka’apana. Guess I better work on behind the back and with the teeth!” - Cindy
This original instrumental combines the Slack Key influence with the American Blues influence.
6. UA NOHO AU A KUPA / WAI’ALAE
by Edward Nainoa/Mekia Kealakai
Tuning: C Wahine (C-G-D-G-B-E)
“Two very sweet melodies and reminiscent of my youth. Ua Noho…always reminds me of Jerry Santos because I first learned it from his wonderful rendition that includes a sung translation of the Hawaiian lyrics; and Wai’alae where I lived in the Sixties. I remember the Wai’alae Drive-in, skateboarding with Keani, and surfing Diamond Head and Waikiki. [“Waikiki” has macrons over both “i”s] Then they built Kahala Mall…..so I could skate, walk and/or bike to Long’s and Woolworth’s! What a thrill!!” - Cindy
A beautiful medley arranged by Cindy of these Hawaiian standards, going from Ua Noho Au A Kupa to Wai’alae and back to Ua Noho Au A Kupa again.
Ua Noho Au A Kupa was composed by Edward Nainoa in the 1890s, and the title of this love song translates as "I've become accustomed to your face.” It has also sometimes been attributed to Emma Bush (1892-1944). This song was also recorded by Slack Key guitarist Leland “Atta” Isaacs (1929-1983), with the title Noho Au A Kupa, in his C Major Tuning (C-G-E-G-C-E), on his 1969 duet recording with Gabby Pahinui TWO SLACK KEY GUITARS (Tradewinds Records -and it is also on the recording THE LEGENDARY ATTA ISAACS—HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY GUITAR MASTER on Hana Ola Records); and also by the great Slack Key guitarist Ray Kane in the G Major Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), on his 1994 recording PUNAHELE (Dancing Cat Records).
The waltz Wai'alae was written by the prolific composer and former Royal Hawaiian Bandleader Mekia Kealakai (1867-1944). It was also prominently recorded by Gabby Pahinui (1921-1980), as part of his great and influential arrangement, Hula Medley (with the songs Nani Wale Lihu’e, Wai’alae, and Hālona) (“Lihu’e”has macron over the “i”), which he recorded twice in his F Wahine (F-C-E-G-C-E): first in 1946, reissued on the recording THE HISTORY OF SLACK KEY GUITAR (Hana Ola Records - which has 20 historical tracks by nine slack key guitarists); and in 1961 with the Title Slack Key Medley on his recording PURE GABBY (Hula Records - released in 1978). Slack Key guitarist Sonny Chillingworth (1932-1994) also recorded Gabby’s Hula Medley in a C Wahine Tuning (C-G-D-G-B-D), on his 1994 recording SONNY SOLO (Dancing Cat Records). Slack Key guitarist Ray Kane also recorded the medley in 1974 with the title Medley: Nani Wale Lihu’e/Wai’alae/Hālona), (“Lihu’e” has macron over the “i”) in the C Wahine Tuning that Cindy uses (C-G-D-G-B-E), reissued on the recording THE LEGENDARY RAY KANE—OLD STYLE SLACK KEY—THE COMPLETE EARLY RECORDINGS, and also later for his upcoming recording MAI POINA ‘OE I ‘AU (NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN), to be released on Dancing Cat Records by guitarist Leonard Kwan (1931-2000) in a different F Wahine Tuning (C-F-C-G-C-E) than the one Gabby Pahinui used for an upcoming recording on Dancing Cat Records.
A very influential version of Wai’alae was also recorded by Gabby Pahinui in his C Mauna Loa Tuning (C-F-E-G-A-E), on his 1973 recording THE RABBIT ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL (Panini Records). It was also recorded by Slack Key guitarist Led Kaapana in the G Major Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), on his recording GRANDMASTER SLACK KEY GUITAR (Rhythm and Roots Records); and by Slack Key guitarist George Kahumoku Jr. playing in the G Major Tuning, as a duet with acoustic steel guitarist Bob Brozman, on their upcoming recording KANI WAI [SOUND OF THE WATER] (Kealkia Farms Records).
by Alfred Alohikea
Tuning: G6th (D-G-D-G-B-E)
“There is nothing quite like the beautiful sight of these waterfalls after a heavy rain. Water rushing in lacy cascades from the mountains into to ocean…..bringing life to the land, nurturing the kalo (taro), quenching our thirst…” - Cindy
This song was composed by Alfred Alohikea (1884-1936), who was born in Waipi’o Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii and lived most of his life on Kaua’i. He was a Kaua’i composer and performer of the highest regard, having written a lot of the well-known songs inspired by Kaua’i, such as Hanohano Hanalei, Hanalei Bay, Kai Hāwanawana, and Pua Lilia, the latter which was recorded by Cindy as a vocal on her album LAND OF THE ENDLESS SUMMER (Moonrise Records). He probably composed Nāmolokama around the late 1800s or the early 1900s and it celebrates the well known waterfalls that create part of the splendid backdrop to Hanalei Bay on Kaua’i’s North Shore. Cindy was inspired to play this by vocalist Leinaala Haili’s version on her recording NO KA OI (Mahalo Records). This song is also sometimes attributed to David Nape (1870-1913).
Note Cindy’s use of the E minor chord twice in the verse first with the chord progression that she got from Leinaala Haili’s version: E minor, to D7th, to A7th, to D Major, to D7th; and later the progression of E minor, to G Major, to G7th, to C Major, to C minor in the second half of the verse.
This song was also recorded Slack Key guitarist Atta Isaacs in the G Major Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), with the title Na Molokama, on his 1971 recording ATTA (originally on Tradewinds Records; it is also reissued on the recording THE LEGENDARY ATTA ISAACS-HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY GUITAR MASTER on Hana Ola Records).
8. MAUNA LOA
by Helen Parker
Tuning: G6th (D-G-D-G-B-E)
“A song of unrequited love, the spurned lover is left with nothing but the old hanky used to shine those pointy-toed shoes. Auwē.” - Cindy
This erotic hula was composed in the early 1900s by the great Hawaiian composer (and Sonny Chillingworth’s aunt) Helen Lindsey Parker (1886-1954), who also wrote the classic song ‘Akaka Falls. The title does not refer to the Big Island mountain, but rather to the ship Mauna Loa plying the waves toward Ka’awaloa, today’s town of Captain Cook. The kaona (hidden or deeper meaning) is an explicit description of a woman, and her request for the ship to return her lover.
Note the beautiful pull-off with the D7th chords near the end of the third verse. And note the pull-off to the open 6th note E string in the end of the sixth verse, showcasing a distinct sound of this G6th Tuning that Cindy beautifully exploits.
This was also one of Slack Key guitarist Gabby Pahinui’s signature songs. He played it in the G Major Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), and he recorded it two times: in the 1950s, reissued on the album THE BEST OF HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY WITH GABBY PAHINUI (Waikiki Records); and in 1961 on the album PURE GABBY (Hula Records - first issued in 1978).
Slack Key guitarist Ray Kane also recorded it as part of the Five Song Medley in the G Major Tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), on his recording PUNAHELE (Dancing Cat Records). Slack Key guitarist Leonard Kwan also recorded it in his F Wahine Tuning (C-F-C-G-C-E), on his recording KEALA’S MELE (Dancing Cat Records).
9. PŪ’OLO POINT
by Cindy Combs
Tuning: Pū’olo Point C Tuning (C-G-D-F-B-E)
“This is inspired by the place we go to watch the sunset and let the dogs run free. It is essentially my front yard (though we call it ‘outback’), where the beautiful blue Pacific meets this sacred land. It is wind-blown and wild. It absolutely resounds with echoes of days gone by. It’s a bridge to the past, a bridge to the future, and I am standing on the midpoint of the bridge.” - Cindy
This song is in a tuning invented by Cindy, which she calls “Pū’olo Point C Tuning” (C-G-D-F-B-E). In this tuning the third string is slacked to the F note, rather than to the normal G note. This enables her to use the drone technique on the open third string F note along with the fourth string fretted at the third fret to also produce the F note on that string. It also enables her to produce a strong sounding G7th chord in the introductions to the verses. She also uses the natural harmonic F note when she plays harmonics on the twelfth fret, making the G13th chord in harmonics just before the third verse, and at the end of the song for the G7th chord harmonics again, as well as sounding a C harmonic note on the third string also at the end of the song for the D7th chord harmonics at the seventh fret (harmonics are chime type tones produced by lightly touching the strings with the left hand at certain places on the fingerboard, here at the twelfth and seventh fret, while plucking the string with the right hand).
This song also features another characteristic of Cindy’s playing, the technique of pulling off a note on the highest pitched first string to the open (unfretted) E note, and then hammering it back on to another note - here fretting an A note on the fifth fret on the first string, pulling it off to sound the open E note, then hammering on to the G note on the third fret—she does this in the second verse, and also in the third and fourth verses after the first chorus, as well as near the end of the last verse. The first verse also again features the drone technique on the fourth and third strings, and later on the third and second strings.
10. MAUNA LOA LEI
by Cindy Combs
Tuning: C Wahine (C-G-D-G-B-E)
“This is for Nona Beamer…..it reminds me of her because, if the song had words, I can hear her voice singing it. I’ve made up a little story that goes with this song: Someone lives on the slopes of Mauna Kea dreaming of someone who lives far away on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Nothing can compare to the beauty of that lovely Mauna Loa Lei.” - Cindy
This beautiful original song again uses the impressionistic chords of C to G minor at the end of the verses, as well as similar chords in the chorus: A Flat Major, to B Flat Major, to C Major. Also note the beautiful partial F minor to F minor 9th chords near the end. Also featured again is her signature drone technique on the first and second strings with the double E note.
11. LULLABYE (GOODNIGHT KEIKI)
by Robert Beaumont/Clifford Hopps
Tuning: C Wahine (C-G-D-G-B-E)
“I still miss Robert. We had so much fun razzing each other, playing music, and fussing around. We were never lovers, just friends, but we used to joke when we parted and we’d say ‘next week’ to each other, meaning we would get together as a couple ‘next week,’ after we had ‘played the field,’ I guess. Next week never came…” - Cindy
This beautiful and poignant ballad was composed by the late Robert Beaumont and Clifford Hopps. Robert Beaumont (1950-1982) co-founded the beloved and very influential group Olomana with Jerry Santos. Cindy introduced Jerry and Robert to each other. This song was on their 1976 recording LIKE A SEABIRD IN THE WIND (Seabird Records). On that album Cindy played Slack Key guitar on the Jerry Santos song O Malia, and on it they also recorded a version of her composition So Free. Later Jerry Santos recorded Cindy’s song I Love Kaua’i on his album EXPECTING FRIENDS (Better Days Records).
Cindy here plays a deeply emotional and impressionistic interpretation of this classic piece. She starts the song playing the melody with the open B note on the second string along with the C note on the fifth fret of the third string, giving a haunting and sustaining quality to these notes. Notice the beautiful sixth intervals in the first verse, and also the implied D minor chord (with the A and the higher F notes played together) in the second part of the first and second verses, and also in the first chorus. At the end of the first chorus before the final C Major chord she plays an A flat Major chord (the Flat VI Major), a substitute for the minor iv chord in the original version of the song by Olomana (which would be F minor in the key of C, transposing the information from the key of G in the original version to the key of C here for reference).
At the end of the third verse, notice the intervals in thirds of the G and B notes played together, and then the A flat and C notes played together, implying the G Major and A Flat Major chords (substituting for, in the original vocal version, the thirds intervals with the E and G notes sung together, and then the F and A Flat notes sung together, again transposed to the key of C here for reference - implying the C Major and F minor chords in the original); to the B and E notes played together, implying a G6th chord, and the A flat and C and F notes played together, implying an F minor chord here (substituting for, in the original version, the thirds intervals with the G and B notes sung together, to the A Flat and C notes sung together, transposed to the key of C here for reference - implying the G Major to A Flat Major chords in the key of C).
At the beginning of the second chorus note the interval in thirds with C and E notes played together, to the fifth interval with the G and D notes played together, to the thirds with the D and F notes played together, and then the C and E notes played together. She ends the second chorus with beautiful substitute chords of B Flat Major, then she uses one of her signature techniques of sliding up to the impressionistic D Flat Major, and resolving down to C Major (all again substituting for the minor iv chord in the original version [which would be an F minor chord in the key of C]).
For the last verse she plays the B and C notes of the melody on different strings, the same way as she does in the first verse, and then she emotionally plays the F Major chords with a higher A melody note, rather than the normal lower F note.
12. ALOHA ‘OE Ā HUI HOU
by John G. Emery
Tuning: C Wahine (C-G-D-G-B-E)
It’s hard to say goodbye…..so much so I remember sneaking out after a good party, not wanting to have to say goodbye. I have learned…..AVOID THAT!!! You never know if that might be the last time you’ll see those friends and family, who are all that is most important in this crazy life, before we meet again in the spirit world.” - Cindy
Cindy’s arrangement of this piece features, at the very beginning and the very end, the Latin-inspired bass that she used in Sunny Rain (song #1), with the tonic, sixth, and fifth (here the C, A, and G notes). Also again featured is her drone technique, here played on the first and second strings with the double E note at the end of the second, eighth, and twelfth verses. Note the beautiful pull-offs and improvised variations especially in the fourth, fifth, sixth, ninth, and eleventh verses. And note again her soulful muting in the seventh and eighth verses. Also notice the beautiful A minor chords near the end that she uses in substitution for the tonic C Chord, just after the G7th chords, before resolving to the C Major chord at the end.
13. NIGHT BLOOMING CEREUS
by Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett
Tuning: G6th (D-G-D-G-B-E)
This beautiful night ballad is by the great hula dancer, kumu hula (hula teacher), singer, and composer Frank Hewett. Cindy plays this in the G Major “Taro Patch” Tuning that she occasionally uses. In the second verse notice her soulful hammer-ons and pull-offs, and a variety of intervals on the higher pitched strings. At the end of the second verse Cindy plays beautiful chords of a D minor 7th/11th to the G Major twice, then a D minor 9th to the G Major to end the song (these are the v minor to I Major ocean-inspired chords, as also played and described in Days of My Youth, song #4).
“The day is done, the party over….. No one wants to be alone but we all have to leave sometime. Aloha ku’u pua mae ‘ole o ke ‘aumoe. Poina ‘ole ‘oe ia’u. Me ke aloha a mau a mau. I hope you enjoyed the music. Aloha.” - Cindy
Produced by Cindy Combs and George Winston
Engineered by Howard Johnston
Additional Engineering by Tyler Crowder, Matt Silveira, and Porter Miller
Laid Back Slack and Pū’olo Point engineered by Alan Gaylor
Mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, CA
Liner Notes by Wayne Jacintho & Cindy Combs, with technical commentary by
Photography by Wayne Jacintho
Art Direction & Design by Frank Harkins
Project Direction by Jennifer Gallacher and Greg Repicci
Editorial Assistance by Chris Orrall