Singer, Slack Key & lap steel guitarist, Owana Salazar brings traditional Hawaiian, contemporary, and jazz together into her performances. Born into a musical family, Owana developed her talents at Kamehameha Schools, then became a music major at UH Manoa where she developed her voice and guitar accompaniment skills. She was introduced to Slack Key (Kiho’alu) by friend, Nelson Hiu, and developed her own style influenced by the great masters of Slack Key including Ledward Kaapana, Dennis Kamakahi, Sonny Chillingworth, and Gabby Pahinui.
In 1990, Jerry Byrd, known as Hawaiian steel guitar “master of touch and tone”, accepted Owana as his student for formal study. Shortly thereafter, Owana received a full scholarship from the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association. In 1992, Owana became the only female student graduated by Jerry Byrd.
Her first recording in 1986, Owana and Ka`ipo, In Kona ,was nominated for Most Promising Artist in the prestigious Hawaiian Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Her second recording, Owana, was a double nominee for Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. In 2003, Wahine Slack ‘n Steel won the 2003 Hoku Award for Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year. Subsequently, Hula Jazz, won the 2005 Hoku Award for Jazz Album of the Year, but was also a nominee for Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year (“Hula Jazz”), Female Vocalist Of The Year, Favorite Entertainer of the Year, and for Best Engineering Technical Award.
Owana has toured concert halls in Japan, Tahiti, New Zealand, Austraila, and the mainland, as a soloist, paired with Ledward Kaapana or Cindy Combs, and as part of the Hawaiian Slack Key Festival Tour with George & Keoki Kahumoku, and Daniel Ho. She was also featured in a “Ladies of Slack Key” tour on the west coast.
Owana is often featured at Maui’ Slack Key Show and was featured on two of their Grammy winning Slack Key compilation CDs: Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Vol. 2, the Grammy nominated Spirit of Slack Key Guitar, and the Hawaii Music Award-winning Masters of Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 3.