Guitar virtuoso Willie K in concert at Copia Sept. 16 | Arts & Theatre

Lincoln Theater and the Culinary Institute of America at Copia present Hawaiian guitar virtuoso Willie K in concert on Sept. 16 in the outdoor amphitheater at Copia.

The Honolulu Weekly describes Willie K – the “K” is for Kahaialii – as “an amazing guitar virtuoso, a Hawaiian Jimi Hendrix; he’s Gabby Pahinui, Andres Segovia, and Eddie Van Halen rolled into one. Willie can mimic seemingly any style, moving easily between screaming Stratocaster, sweet slack key, and jazzy, almost baroque, acoustic 12-string.”

Willie K also sings and writes original songs, from rocking blues to tender ballads in the traditional Hawaiian style, and even the occasional Italian aria. Since releasing his debut album in 1992, he has won more than a dozen, Na Hoku Hanohano awards, the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy. In 2005, Willie’s reunion album with Gilliom, Amy & Willie Live, was nominated for a Grammy in the first year of the Best Hawaiian Music Album award.

Willie K grew up in a big family – the second of nine boys and four girls – and played just about every instrument in the family band.

“My father was a great influence,” he says. “He groomed me to be where I am today. He was just as diverse as I am — the guy knew how to play everything: jazz, blues and Hawaiian.”

This love of music comes through in his warm and engaging performance style. “You want to taste it, you want to try it and give it a shot and see what will happen,” he says. His fans have included Prince, Steven Tyler, and Barack Obama.

Tickets are $45. The performance will be at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at CIA Copia, 500 First St., Napa. For tickets, contact the Lincoln Theater Box Office at 707-944-9900 or go to

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