May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i by Lion SG Ensemble

Lion’s Ohana

Ladies Ensemble


Kiyoshi was born in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, in 1933. He began his musical education at the age of 4 with music dictation training (an advanced practice of listening to a musical phrase and being able to write it correctly on the spot). He began studying the piano at age 5 under the guidance of a Russian pianist in Tokyo who asserted that “music is not merely a matter of technique—it has to come from the heart.” Kiyoshi taught himself to play the ‘ukulele at age 13 and began playing steel guitar at age 15.

In high school Kiyoshi’s primary stylistic influence was Japan steel guitar legend Bucky Shirakata. However, exposure to “Hawaii Calls” and the country music popular at that time changed his style completely. And he would also incorporate the sounds of West Coast jazz, which he heard while active at U.S. military camps.

In his first year of Keio University, he designed his own pedal steel, and he was probably the second steel guitarist in Japan to adopt the use of pedals after Poss Miyazaki.

At age 21, Kiyoshi became a pianist by chance. After graduating from Keio, he got a job with the film company Nikkatsu. He spent most of his time with Nikkatsu in marketing/advertisement. A friend in broadcasting got him work as a steel guitar session player in local recording studios. So he was busy wearing three hats: employee at the film company, studio musician, and pianist.

Beginning around 1964, Kiyoshi was active in session work, recording commercials and TV shows. In 1971 he left the film company and began studying jazz theory under Sadao Watanabe. He had the opportunity to meet and hear the great Jerry Byrd on one of his Japan trips, and fascinated by Jerry’s unique bar slanting technique, Kiyoshi became passionate about steel guitar without pedals.

In May 1983, Kiyoshi participated in Jerry Byrd’s Third Annual Hawaiian Steel Guitar Ho’olaule’a as the first representative from Japan, and thereafter became a “regular” at the event each May Day. Kiyoshi was highly regarded for his modern playing methods, performing old songs and attracting audiences with his ever-changing novel arrangements. In 1998, he released an album of 15 such arrangements titled My Memories of Hawaiian Steel Guitar Ho’oleale’a recorded at a local studio in Hawaii. His jazzy playing created lots of “buzz” in Japan and overseas and the CD got lots of press at HSGA and other steel guitar clubs along with airtime on Internet radio including a 60-minute special for Japan satellite radio network St. Giga.

Following the Honolulu 2000 HSGA Convention, he recorded his second self-produced CD Honolulu I’m Coming Back Again. His third release, Song of Old Hawaii, was recorded in 2007 and featured Hiram Olsen on guitar and vocalist Tatsuo Wakui. In 2018, he released the fourth self-produced CD Hawaiian Be Bop. Kiyoshi’s CDs are frequently streamed on TuneIn internet radio and Aloha Joe’s Steel Guitar Island webcast.

小林 ライオン 潔

1933年北海道生まれ。 4歳から聴音、5歳からピアノを習い、東京でロシア人ピアニストに「音楽はテクニックよりハートです」と教えられる。13歳でウクレレを独学、15歳でスチールギターを弾きはじめる。

高校時代は日本のスチールギターのレジェンド バッキー白片スタイルだったが、「ハワイ コールス」や当時流行していたカントリー音楽を聴きスタイルが一変し、米軍キャンプで活躍中に出会ったウェストコースト・ジャズを聞き漁るようになる。




‘83年5月、ジェリー・バード主催の第3回Hawaiian Steel Guitar HO’OLAULE’A(大会)に日本代表として初参加、モダン奏法で高く評価され以後毎年5月のHO’OLAULE’Aにレギュラーゲストとして参加し、毎年参加する度に古い曲を斬新なアレンジで演奏し、話題を集めた。その参加曲の中から15曲を選んで’98年にハワイ現地録音でCD「My Memories Of Hawaiian Steel Guitar HO’OLAULE’A」を自主制作でリリース。そのジャズタッチ・プレイはHSGA(スチールギター協会)のホームページやインターネットラジオ、BS放送セント・ギガで60分特集するなど日本国内、海外でも大きな話題を呼ぶ。2000年4月30日の大会のあとホノルルで収録した自主制作CD第2弾「Honolulu I’m Coming Back Again」をリリース。

2007年、第3弾CD「Song of Old Hawaii」をハイラム・オールセンのギター、涌井達雄のヴォーカルをフィーチャーしてリリース。

2018年、自主制作CD第4弾「Hawaiian Be Bop」をリリース。これらはインターネットのTuneIn Radio Aloha Joe‘s Steel Guitar Island で昼夜を問わず頻繁に流れている。

Educating and raising the next generation
Since 1972, Kiyoshi has been teaching steel guitar, piano, bass guitar and ‘ukulele during the day while “moonlighting” playing piano at restaurant bars in Akasaka, Roppongi and Ginza, and a Hawaiian bar in Setagaya.

In 1983, he published his Modern Steel Guitar Method in three volumes, covering the techniques he developed over the years. At the same time, he began teaching steel guitar lessons online. Volume I of his method was republished in 1999, which led to a 2012 instruction book/DVD with the same title and covering similar material.

Beginning in the early 1980s, he created a correspondence course consisting of 28 cassettes complete with steel guitar, backing tracks, and performance tips. (A CD version of this course is in the works.)

In the spring of 2000, he produced an instruction video Kiyoshi Kobayashi’s [Pure Hawaiian Style] Steel Guitar Technique, later offered in DVD format.







Masako Wakamatsu, Sakae Machida, Yoko Tanaka and Akiko Watanabe

Recent activities
Since 2006, Kiyoshi has been focusing on elevating the young players, educating them on professional skills and theory, and producing professional steel guitarists. He continues to offer steel guitar and ‘ukulele classes along with private lessons at home and at culture schools in Tokyo and nearby areas. Around 2010 he began working with steel guitar ensembles, which showcased his considerable arranging abilities. In 2018 he formed the Lion Ladies Steel Guitar Ensemble with four of his students, Yoko Tanaka, Akiko Watanabe, Masako Wakamatsu and Sakae Machida. The group has been performing regularly in Hawaii and around Japan.

Kiyoshi’s band, now called The New Trade Winds, has been busy performing and features a jazzy blend of steel guitar and standard guitar with a 1950s West Coast flavor.

Kiyoshi’s catalog features tablature arrangements for some 850 songs (some with CD backing tracks) that he has created and sold over his 70-year career. He turns 88 this July and is still excited about his various projects: teaching, performing, researching new tunings, and remodeling and improving his pedal steel guitar setup.


2006年頃から若手育成に力を入れ、プロ仕様の実技と理論の教育をしプロのスチールギタリストを輩出。東京及び近郊のカルチャースクールでのウクレレ教室、スチールギター教室および自宅での個人レッスンを継続する傍ら、2010年頃からスチールギターアンサンブルを立ち上げ編曲の力量をも示すとともに、2018年に生徒の中から選出した4名(田中陽子、渡辺明子、若松正子、町田さかえ)によるLion Ladies Steel Guitar Ensembleを結成しハワイと日本国内各地で演奏活動を行っている。

バンドもメンバーを一新したNew Trade Windsで、1950年代のウェストコースト・ジャズをヒントにスチールギター と スタンダードギターの絡みあったJazzyなサウンドのライブを行っている。



(注) 主な録音・出演作品   [英語版では割愛]

梓みちよ「ポカン・ポカン」、新人歌手の”夏物”、南沙織「潮風のメロディ」、黛ジュン「天使の誘惑」、青江三奈「池袋の夜」、森山良子「禁じられた恋」、アグネス・チャン「ポケットいっぱいの秘密」、小柳ルミ子「瀬戸の花嫁」、三沢あけみ「わかれ酒」、森昌子カントリー調「津和野ひとり」ほかJ pop、歌謡曲、演歌など数百曲のバックアップ。



夏場のCMでスチールが入っているもののほとんど、「こんにゃく畑」、JALの「楽園に鳥が飛ぶ」、「マウイ編」、Calbee「えだまめ」、Kona Coffee ラジオCM、,最近ではANAの機内安全ビデオ, NTTドコモの「焼き鳥編」など