- Home Kamuela, Hawaii
- GenresHawaiian, slack key guitar
Grammy Nominee Elmer “Sonny” Lim, a member of Hawaii’s famous musical Lim family, was born and raised in the heart of paniolo country on the Big Island. Sonny’s father was a paniolo (cowboy) at Parker Ranch where Sonny also worked for 23 years. Music was a part of paniolo life and keeping with tradition, Sonny’s parents taught their children to play a variety of musical instruments. Sonny was introduced to ki ho’alu (slack key guitar) as a child watching Gabby Pahinui perform at a lu’au in Kohala. Sonny’s biggest inspiration and influence came at age 12 from well-known slack key guitarist and family friend, Uncle Fred Punahoa. Punahoa took interest in Sonny’s playing, and spent several weeks living with the Lim family in Kohala in order to teach Sonny. Sonny’s professional career started as a teenager when he commuted to Oahu from the Big Island to perform with the Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau. His first solo album, “Slack Key Guitar: The Artistry of Sonny Lim” was a 48th Grammy nominee in the Hawaiian Music category. One year prior to this nomination he performed with 6 other solo artists on Hawaii’s first Grammy award-winning CD, “Slack Key Guitar Volume 2″ (Palm Records). Sonny helped accept this inaugural Hawaiian Grammy award on stage and his speech, spoken in Hawaiian, was the first time the Hawaiian language was ever spoken on the Grammy stage. Sonny has also performed on a number of Na Hanohano Hoku Award winning projects. He performs regularly with his family in Hawaii and Japan.