Founding member of the six-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano (Hawai'i's GRAMMY® ) Award-winning group Maunalua, Bobby Moderow, Jr. is a renowned slack key guitar and falsetto artist.
Born and raised on the island of O'ahu, there was always music in Moderow's house, where his mother constantly sang to him. He was a member of the prestigious Honolulu Boy Choir from ages 9 to 12, and wanting to give back to the culture that was so good to him, he got his first guitar at age 17 with the aim of learning slack key guitar. At 18 he become a protégé of the renowned late slack key guitar master Raymond Kane, who was proclaimed a National Living Treasure by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts in 1987, and awarded funding for the apprenticeship program under which Moderow studied.
Moderow studied with "Uncle Raymond" for three years, and several years later embarked on a solo career, hoping to fulfill his desire to express himself through songwriting and music. He began performing at the original Roy's restaurant, where he stayed for 12 years. Three years after starting at Roy's, Moderow invited some fellow musicians to join him there, and he created the group Maunalua. The group became so popular that it was difficult for the restaurant to accommodate the crowds.
With his Maunalua brothers, Moderow has released four albums, winning a total of six Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. They have performed all over the world, including at the inaugural luʻau for President Obama; the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian; and solo several times at the Grammy® Museum. As part of his desire to give back and to be one of the "keepers of the [Hawaiian music] flame" Moderow believes that education is a huge part of entertaining - "education through entertainment" - so he also teaches. The award-winning artist Makana was one of his students, and he has taught elementary school children at the Grammy® Museum for the past few years. He is currently teaching at the University of Hawai'i West Campus on O'ahu.
Having begun his music career as a solo artist, Moderow returned to his solo roots with the 2019 release of his debut solo album, "Inspired". The album contains a mixture of original songs inspired by the Hawaiian culture and his friends and family, and covers of other songs that inspire him, both Hawaiian and Country. Moderow continues to perform with his Maunalua brothers while performing an increasing number of solo gigs throughout Hawaiʻi and the continental United States.