Bill Tapia, 103 Year-old Ukulele Virtuoso, to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

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Bill Tapia-singer, raconteur, jazz guitarist, and ukulele legend-at age 103 is the oldest performing musician in the world. During his career, which spans the 20th century, he’s played with a veritable who’s who of American and Hawaiian music, including Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Johnny Noble, Benny Nawahe, and Sol Ho’opi’i.

On May 29th, he is scheduled to receive the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu – the award is presented each year to artists who have made lasting and significant contribution to Hawaiian music and culture.


The honor will be followed by the release next month of a new album: Bill Tapia, Live at the Warner Grand Theatre – The 100th Birthday Concert.

Presented in the fall of 2007, the concert featured Tapia performing songs from the great American songbook as well as Hapa Haole Hawaiian classics.  He was accompanied by a select group of jazz musicians including Kristin Korb, Frank Devito, Earl Allen, King Kukulele and Abe Lagrimas, Jr. (2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee for Extended Play Release of the Year). The show marked Tapia’s second engagement at the theatre-he first played there in 1935, four years after it opened.

Paniolo Productions, based in Los Angeles, California, is dedicated to producing Americana, jazz, blues, world, and Hawaiian music concerts. Founder Alyssa Archambault first contacted Bill Tapia in 2000 while doing genealogical research into her own family’s rich Hawaiian music heritage-her great grandfather’s cousin, Joseph Kekuku, was the creator of the steel guitar.  Archambault and Tapia immediately became fast friends and she soon found herself spearheading the guitar/ukulele virtuoso’s return to public performance.  In 2007, Paniolo Productions produced the Bill Tapia 100th birthday concert in at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA.
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