Music for the Hawaiian Islands - Kuana Torres Kahele

May 20, 2016

HPR is proud to present multi-Hōkū-Award-winning composer, musician, choreographer Kuana Torres Kahele at its annual concert at the Palikū Theatre.

Kuana will present for the first time back-to-back concerts of the entirety of his existing landmark series, Music for the Hawaiian Islands. Audience members are invited to attend one or BOTH of the shows.

Sunday, August 7 - Palikū Theatre (map to Windward Community College)


GROUP DISCOUNT of 25% for seats in any section, for groups of six or more attending same show. Use promo code KUANAGROUP (case sensitive).

Kuana will be accompanied at the 2pm performance by dancers from Ka Hula O Kealamailani under the direction of Kumu Hula and Miss Aloha Hula TeHani Pimental and, at the 6pm show, by Merrie Monarch winners, the kāne (men) of Hālau Nā Mamo O Puʻuanahulu under Kumu Hula Sonny Ching and Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera. And emceeing the event will be HPR's Morning Edition and Kanikapila Sunday Host Derrick Malama.

Highway Inn Hawaiian plate (event meal is not exactly as shown)

To add to the festivities, between the shows HPR offers a "mini-lūʻau" and lei-making demonstration with 2010 Lei Queen Jamie Kaohulani Adams Detwiler in front of the theatre. Join us there for CD-signings and to meet the artists, as well as to pick up a Hawaiian plate dinner from Highway Inn. Dinner must be ordered at the time of online ticket purchase and before 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 5.


About Kuana Torres Kahele

Kuana has been involved in the music and hula scene of Hilo since he was 6 years old. He trained as a kane dancer under legendary Hilo kumu hula Johnny Lum Ho until the age of 13. He was discovered to have exceptional musical abilities and was pulled from the hula line and added as a permanent halau musician. Kuana’s photographic musical memory allowed the kumu to compose songs and have them recited later, as needed. It became a Hawaiian music "boot camp" of sorts, training him in the classics of Hawaiian music and prepping him for what was to come as a professional musician.

In 1995, at 17, he and fellow Hilo native and falsetto musician Kehau Tamure laid the foundation for what emerged as one of the most popular Hawaiian music groups to date, Nā Palapalai. They released Makani ‘Olu’olu in 2002 to meteoric success and raves from critics. Kuana’s original, "Ke Anu O Waimea" is still the most popular hula song in Japan to this day. Nā Palapalai has continued to maintain its popularity 20 years and six albums later.

In 2011, he released his long awaited solo debut, Kaunaloa. It won every major award at that year’s Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. He was applauded for his songwriting abilities and contribution to Hawaiian music. His release was a welcome breath of fresh air in both style and content, allowing for the creation of new hula from kumu all over the world. Subsequent blockbuster releases included his Hilo for the Holidays Christmas release, which later won Christmas Album of the Year, and 2013’s self-titled Kahele.

In 2012, he was asked to teach hula to a small group of Niʻihauan women, based on mele he had written for the island. It has since blossomed into monthly visits for hula with Kuana teaching an official organized Niʻihau halau, Na Lei Lanakila O Niʻihau. He has had a long-standing relationship with the Niʻihau ʻohana and has worked hard to raise visibility and revenue to their Lei Pupu or shell lei. He takes lei for sale on many of his trips, bringing 100% back to the lei maker. His passion and support have furthered the art and benefited countless families in need of assistance.

Kuana currently maintains his own Hawaiian Music & Culture School in Japan. He teaches in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka with over 200 combined students. He offers courses in voice, haku mele, mele hula, fresh lei making, ukulele, and guitar. He is one of the most popular entertainers performing in Hawaiʻi and Japan. He performs and teaches cultural workshops all over the world.

In April 2014, he launched the first volume in a six-CD series entitled Music for the Hawaiian Islands. Each CD pays tribute to an individual island with original music from Kuana, written specifically for hula. His poetic lyrics illustrate the beauty of Hawaiʻi, while documenting everything from important place names to island winds and specific rains. The legacy left by this collection will continue to prove its value for years to come with the addition of more than 100 new songs for hula by the project's completion in the second half of 2016.

Vol. 1 HAWAIʻI KEAWE (Hawaiʻi Island)
Vol. 2 KAHELELANI (Niʻihau)
Vol. 3 PIʻILANI (Maui)
Vol. 5 MOLOKAʻI NUI A HINA/LANAʻIKAULA (Molokaʻi/Lanaʻi)
Vol. 6 (O’ahu)