Maui Time

Kīkā Kila: How Geri Valdriz helps keep the fire burning for steel guitars

April 4, 2018 by Lantana Hoke


Growing up on Oahu in the 1960s and ‘70s, Geri Valdriz and his friends listened to the blues. “In my generation, that’s the kind of music we listened to–we never played Hawaiian music,” he told me recently. Then he started reading interviews of his favorite blues artists, and was surprised to find them citing Hawaiian steel guitar musicians as their influences. “So I started teaching myself to play Kīkā kila,” he said. “They call it ‘Hawaiian steel guitar,’ but the Hawaiian word is Kīkā kila.’” “Kīkā” means guitar and “kila” translates as steel. But at that time, “there were no players,” Valdriz said. “All the oldtimers were gone, and we were playing different music.”
“This is Hawaii, Kīkā kila was born here,” Valdriz had told me. “There has got to be local people playing our music. Thirty years from now, they might start playing it again… ‘ukulele came back. Kīkā kila will come back. We’re keeping this alive for the future. The music is there, we haven’t forgotten. We’re keeping the fire burning.”

FULL ARTICLE HERE Courtesy of MauiTime

Mana'o Radio

Hawaiian Steel: Geri's Radio Show

Listen to Geri's Radio Show 5PM - 8PM on Tuesdays


“Hawaiian Steel” is a musical program featuring KīkāKila, the Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar. This unique guitar playing style is rooted in the Islands and is at the soul of Hawaiian Music. Each week’s show spotlights the virtuosity of the great Hawaiian Steel Guitar masters from the past to the present, and shares stories about the songs and their players. Listen and enjoy the sweet, lush, nahenahe sounds of the gentle strings! It brings back memories of backyard jams, lu`au hulas, and kanikapila with `ohana and friends.

INFO Courtesy of Mana'o Radio


The Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences

A Hawai‘i Non-Profit Corporation that supports music education and enrichment for people of all ages.


Geri is apart of HIMELE's board of directors. Their purpose is to educate, promote and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments. They do this by organizing and sponsoring festivals such as the flagship Maui Steel Guitar Festival, Waikiki Steel Guitar Week, the Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival, and the Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Festival. They also present community-focused steel guitar festivals at local malls that are conveniently located to population centers on O‘ahu. They also conduct workshops, exhibitions, and other music-related public events and use social media channels and their websites to publicize the corporation's music and cultural activities and provide information to the public.

For more information on HIMELE

Kaua'i Steel Guitar Festival

From the 2018 Kaua'i Steel Guitar Festival, Geronimo "Geri" Valdriz sings and plays

Accompanied by Bobby Ingano, Kaipo Asing and Adam Asing.

Festival Info

The Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival is presented by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE) and the Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i School of Hawaiian Music. The festival brings together legendary steel guitarists for a celebration of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar. This is an annual event immediately preceding Keola Beamer's Aloha Music Camp. Scheduling the festival to precede the Aloha Music Camp gives camp attendees an extra opportunity to rediscover the Hawaiian steel guitar and enjoy the nahenahe sounds of master steel guitarists from Hawai‘i, while providing others a chance to enjoy the sounds of the Hawaiian steel guitar and learn more about the Aloha Music Camp.The Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival is one of a series of Hawaiian Steel Guitar festivals produced and presented by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE) and the Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i School of Hawaiian Music. The Kaua‘i festival is made possible in collaboration with the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort. The Maui Steel Guitar Festival is held in the spring on Maui, and the Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Festival is presented in December on Hawai‘i Island. The Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week and Festival is held in mid-July at the Royal Grove performance venue (Helumoa) and presented by the Royal Hawaiian Center. HIMELE also produces the community-focused Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festivals at various O‘ahu shopping centers throughout the year.All festivals are free and open to the public and are presented to increase awareness and foster interest in the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, an instrument important to Hawaiian music and culture.These festivals are made possible through grants and contributions from corporate sponsors and private individuals, supplemented by in-kind contributions and volunteer resources.

For more information about The Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival