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Peter Moon, Hawaiian music virtuoso, dies at 73


    Peter Moon

Peter Moon, a virtuoso ukulele and slack-key guitar player and composer who helped usher in a revival of Hawaiian music, died on Feb. 17. He was 73.

Kanikapila Records, the record label that Moon formed in 1982, confirmed his death today. His family already held a private funeral service.

The cause of his death was not released. Moon had not performed in public since 2005, the label said.

George Darby, president of Kanikapila Records, said Moon’s early albums with the Cazimero brothers in the 1970s were the “wellspring with the Hawaiian renaissance,” meshing traditional and new songs along with hula halau, which was novel at the time.

Moon also adopted new technology in recording traditional Hawaiian music, such as using multitracks rather than recording the music live.

Moon learned to play the ukulele and slack-key guitar by ear and began recording in the late ’60s with Palani Vaughan, then with Roland Cazimero in Sunday Manoa, which produced the acclaimed albums “Guava Jam,” “Cracked Seed,” and the “Sunday Manoa 3.”

In 1970, Moon started an annual Hawaiian music concert called Kanikapila at Andrews Amphitheater at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The event ran until 1995.

Moon formed the Peter Moon Band in the late ’70s, and the group released its first album “Tropical Storm” in 1979. The band won Album of the Year and Group of the Year for “Tropical Storm” at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Moon released more than two dozen albums, many with the Peter Moon Band, until his last album in 2005. In the the early 2000s, he began teaching ukulele and slack-key guitar. He was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Moon, of Korean and Chinese descent, was born in Honolulu on Aug. 25, 1944. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.

He is survived by his son, Peter W.K. Moon, and other family members.

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