Remembering Beloved Hawaiian Musician Martin Pahinui

Martin Pahinui | Photo © Heidi Chang

Sharing a laugh with Martin Pahinui at his home in Waimanolo | Photo © Heidi Chang

Martin Pahinui
Aired on NPR’s Newscast,” May 29, 2017
By Heidi Chang

Hawaii is mourning the loss of a musician whose artistic work and that of his family was revered by fans worldwide. Their music has been featured on multiple albums and on movie soundtracks. Heidi Chang has this appreciation.

Listen to the Story (58 seconds)

      Martin Pahinui

(Martin sings his father’s signature song, “Hi’ilawe,” and plays slack key guitar.)

Martin Pahinui was known for his soulful voice and playing guitar and bass. He was the youngest son of Gabby Pahinui, who was known as the “Father of Modern Slack Key Guitar.”

After Gabby died in 1980, Martin carried on his father’s musical legacy with two other brothers.  “If you learn any type of music, he told me, what you do, you put your best into it and enjoy what you do, and it’ll come out all right,” he recalled.

Martin Pahinui died on Sunday after struggling with cancer. He was 65.

Martin Pahinui | Photo © Heidi Chang

Martin Pahinui | Photo © Heidi Chang


The Hoku-Award-winning recording artist performed with The Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band, the Peter Moon Band, The Pahinui Brothers, Hui Aloha and many other groups, and also as a solo artist.

Martin Pahinui - Ho'olohe (Listen) | Courtesy Dancing Cat Records

Martin Pahinui – Ho’olohe (Listen) | Courtesy Dancing Cat Records



Soundtracking “The Descendants” With “Real” Hawaiian Music – NPR story

Bla Pahinui – NPR profile

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