Statue of Hawaiian music icon unveiled at Waikiki Beach Walk®
RELEASE NUMBER 36/17
WAIKIKI, HONOLULU, HAWAII – Outrigger Enterprises Group unveiled a larger-than-life statue of Philip Kunia “Gabby” Pahinui last night at Waikiki Beach Walk®. Affectionately known as “Pops,” Gabby was one of the greatest 20th century masters of Hawaiian vocal, slack key and steel guitar music.
Titled “Kanikapila,” a Hawaiian phrase that loosely translates to “make music,” the sculpture depicts Gabby during a happy moment in his Waimanalo backyard, standing and playing guitar, as photographed by his son, Cyril Pahinui.
“Gabby Pahinui was instrumental in inspiring generations of musicians to perpetuate Hawaiian music,” said Ernest Rady, the chairman, chief executive officer and president of American Assets Trust, Inc., (NYSE: AAT) the company that owns Waikiki Beach Walk®. “Waikiki Beach Walk® is honored to serve as the home for this remarkable statue that celebrates Gabby and his legacy as a Hawaiian music icon.”
“This is a tremendous honor for Outrigger and we’re humbled to play a small part on this iconic occasion; Gabby Pahinui is the father of slack key and slack key is true Hawaiian music,” said Sean Dee, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of Outrigger Enterprises Group – the developer of Waikiki Beach Walk®.
Gabby was a self-taught musician who became one of the great masters of Hawaii’s unique slack-key guitar sound. A legendary artist who inspired generations of musicians, he is perhaps best known for “Hi‘ilawe,” the first-ever recording of Hawaiian slack key guitar. Gabby often hosted weekend jam-sessions or kanikapila, in his backyard that drew musicians from throughout the islands. Today, Gabby’s son’s, Bla, Cyril and Martin, follow in their father’s footsteps, making music and carrying the tradition of kanikapila forward.
The idea to celebrate Gabby and his influence on Hawaiian music through “Kanikapila” was initiated by Outrigger Enterprises Group. With its strong commitment to preserving and perpetuating Hawaiian music and culture, Outrigger holds an unparalleled connection to Hawaii’s music industry. Outrigger’s expanded music program, E Mele Ana, gives guests a front-row seat to authentic Hawaiian music – Blue Note Hawaii, which serves as the state’s premier venue for world-renowned artists, from local talent to international sensations, for limited engagements; live music nightly at Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort; and Outrigger Resorts Signature Experiences – a host of complimentary activities and amenities that connect guests to the host culture.
Sculptor Kim Duffett began concepting and designing the 7-foot-tall bronze statue at his studio in Honolulu nearly a year ago. In addition to “Kanikapila,” his recent efforts include the three, twice-life size hula kahiko dancers fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village entitled, “Kaha ka ‘Io me na Makani,” for which he received the Kahili Award for Visual Arts at the 2003 Keep It Hawaii Awards.
“Gabby’s music is synonymous with Hawaii,” said sculptor Kim Duffett. “This statue captures Gabby in his element – playing music in his backyard surrounded by family and friends – and evokes his talent, humility and kindness that endeared him to generations.”
The bronze statue of Gabby is located in the heart of Waikiki Beach Walk® on the Plaza of the open-air shopping, dining and entertainment district. The statue was unveiled to Gabby’s family and friends during a private ceremony of close to 300 people, which also included local musicians who were influenced by his music.
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