Slack Key Guitar: The Artistry of Sonny Lim



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CD Description

48th Grammy® Nominee in the Hawaiian Music Category

Elmer “Sonny” Lim, Jr.  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 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 by 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 to teach Sonny. Sonny’s professional career started as a teenager when 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 Award nominee in the Hawaiian Music category. One year prior to this nomination, Sonny 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 with a short speech in Hawaiian – the first time the Hawaiian language was ever spoken on the Grammy stage. Sonny has also performed on a number of  Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning projects and  performs regularly with his family in Hawaii and Japan.

Partial Discography:
“Slack Key Guitar – The Artistry of Sonny Lim” (Palm Records) 2005 – 48th GRAMMY® Nominee
“Slack Key Guitar Volume 2″ (Palm Records) 2003 – 47th GRAMMY® Award Winner
“Slack Key Guitar” (Palm Records) 1998

“The Artistry of Sonny Lim”  was recorded at Lava Tracks Recording Studio in Sonny’s home town, Kamuela – the ranching region where ki ho’alu originated. It was produced, mixed, mastered and engineered by Grammy Award-winning producer,  Charles Michael Brotman. The guitars used on this recording are a Santa Cruz Studio Model H guitar and a 1976 Ramirez classical guitar.

Cover art: “Emerging Treeline II” by Diana Lehr



CD Tracks

  1. 1Hokuula
  2. 2Pau Hana Rag
  3. 3Malie
  4. 4How Dya Do
  5. 5Lauele
  6. 6Punahoa Special
  7. 7Donnas Smile
  8. 8Pua Aala
  9. 9Kohala Medley
  10. 10Mauna Loa Slack Key
  11. 11Mauna Kea Morning


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