Berkeley-born Hawaiian musician Patrick Landeza made history on May 25 when he won a Nā Hōkū Hanohano award for Slack Key Album of the Year with Slack Key Huaka`i. Patrick became the first Mainland-born Hawaiian artist to win Hawaiian music’s most prestigious award.
The album, which means “Slack Key Journey,” is aptly-named. “I started learning slack key because I was around it all my life” says Landeza. “My uncles played, and at first I learned from them.” After learning all he could from his uncles, Landeza went on to study under slack key’s musical “royalty.” Raymond Kane, Cyril Pahinui, George Kuo, and Dennis Kamakahi all took the young guitarist under their wings.
Kamakahi, who won the Ki Ho`alu Foundation Legacy Award on Saturday, is quoted as saying that it is “testimony to his hard work and perseverance” that Landeza “is the first Mainland-born Hawaiian to win this very prestigious music award” and that Landeza should “continue to strive for the best and bring pride to our Hawaiian culture.”
Not all of Nã Hōkū Hanohano’s categories are open to Mainland residents. Most notably, non-Hawai`i residents are not eligible in the General and Technical categories, such as Producer, Album of the Year, Male or Female Vocalist of the Year, and others. So, while a Mainland artist can win within their specific genre, they are ineligible for other awards.
When asked about Landeza’s role in the Hawaiian music industry, Kale Hannahs, vice-president of Hawaiian Academy of Recording Arts, said that “he is very much accepted as one of our Hawaiian brothers who just happens not to reside in Hawai`i. But understand that Hawai`i is in his heart, it’s in his blood, and it’s in his music.”
Landeza has returned to California to resume his job as a middle school teacher at St. Joseph, Fremont. He currently resides in Hayward with his wife and five children. He also runs his family’s catering business and has a successful line of fruit jams and hand-crafted jewelry that he sells at his shows. Patrick continues to bring Hawaiian music to Northern California through his production company LandezaPresents.
Patrick’s friends and family will host a celebration in honor of his achievement on Father’s Day, June 16, 2013 at Swiss Park, 911 Mowry Blvd, Newark, Calif. The event will be held from 11am to 5pm and admission is FREE, with live Hawaiian music throughout the day from local bands and featuring, from Hawai`i, the award-winning group Kūpaoa. Patrick Landeza will perform as well. $5 Teri Chicken plate, shaved ice and play area for the kids. For more info call 510.423.3051 or visit www.landezapresents.com.