I had the good fortune of meeting this young talent even before he ever put out a c.d., before I ever heard him play a note. But from the beginning I loved his enthusiasm and pure joy for the guitar, for the different styles, and music in general. I first thought, here is a guy who just started his practice as an attorney in New York, and that music was a hobby. ‘Boy’ was I wrong. . . when I finally heard him play, his persona was of a seasoned veteran.

A few years later, while Darin was still in New York, he asked me if I could pull some bass on his next c.d. This was a total joy for me because his style of writing left room for the other instruments to breath, to improvise, to truly be a part of the song.

FIVE YEARS AND MANY MILES will definitely make you say “whoa, where’d this guy come from?” From the very beginning, you will relate, and every song makes you remember personal experiences and good feelings from your past.

As for his musicianship, I love how he incorporates skack key, folk finger picking and flat picking in every song. With his contemporary style of writing, he takes the traditional slack key and makes it today. . . I love musicians who will take it to the edge.

So, with your significant other, grab a bottle of wine, head to the beach during sunset, turn on Darin’s c.d., and enjoy the full experience of FIVE YEARS AND MANY MILES.

Nathan Aweau, Award-Winning Hawaiian Vocalist, Bassist, Guitarist



Wayne Harada of the Honolulu Advertiser describes Leong as a “master communicator. . . able to send images and remembrances of times and themes that touch the soul.”

Please Click on the “Wayne Harada – Honolulu Advertiser” text to access this review.

Wayne Harada – Honolulu Advertiser (5 Oct 2007)



John Berger of the Star Bulletin describes “Five Years and Many Miles” as a “beautiful all-instrumental calling card.”

Please Click on the “John Berger – Star Bulletin” text to access this review.

John Berger – Star Bulletin (5 Oct 2007)



This is a lovely release. Darin Leong’s “When Home is Far Away” returns me to a time when the Windham Hill instrumental guitar masters, Alex de Grassi, Will Ackerman and Michael Hedges, ruled the acoustic guitar-playing earth. Leong’s aural musical signature resounds boldly through the numerous tapestries of his Hawaiian slack key and mainland folk guitar styles.

Barry Flanagan, Hapa



Hawaiian Style Magazine (2008)



Guitar Jam Daily recently reviewed “Five Years and Many Miles.” Reviewer Ken Volpe describes Darin as having a “gift for melody and execution on multiple stringed instruments.” Read the full review HERE.

Ken Volpe – Guitar Jam Daily (18 Nov 2007)



Please Click on the “Wayne Harada – Honolulu Advertiser” text to access this review.

Wayne Harada – Honolulu Advertiser



Influenced by ki ho’alu (Hawaiian slack key), classical guitar and fingerstyle, guitarist Darin Leong ‘99 takes his listeners on an instrumental journey to both the winters of New York and the beaches of Hawaii.

Pomona College Magazine



“When Home is Far Away” contains 13 original tracks composed in Hawai’i or New York and beautifully evocative of home–or the way we feel when we’re not there.

While most of the tracks exude a reflective, sometimes poignant tone, “Sunshine” bounces along in drunken happiness and “Ka’a Slack” playfully depicts a car ride thwarted by a traffic jam, replete with honking horns.

Closing out the album, “Goodnight” paints an image of darkness falling and the stars glowing overhead.

Leong’s love of guitar took root during his days in the Academy at Punahou. But his interest truly blossomed at Punahou Carnival when he arranged for some well-known local artists to perform. Among them was “Hapa,” featuring lead guitarist Barry Flanagan, who later agreed to give Leong a lesson. The mentorship kicked off Leong’s intense devotion to the guitar.

Punahou Bulletin