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Kekuhi Keali'ikanaka'oleohaililani & Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole


“.. the Kanaka’oles brought down the house. It was a pleasure to host them!” Town Hall Seattle

“The performance was absolutely fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! Everyone I spoke with was just blown away. We realize we are in the presence of not only consummate artists, all three, but who are sharing something new and different, bringing us back to something many of us have forgotten and need to remember again. -- University of Michigan

Their roots are in the hula of the esteemed Kanaka‘ole Family of Hawai‘i Island. They draw their inspiration from the Volcano that is their home and the goddess Pele who is their ancestor. Their Hawaiian cultural knowledge has come down through eight matrilineal generations, making them vibrant keepers of culture, authentic innovators, and much sought-after for their depth and breadth of their cultural understanding. Kaumakaiwa is Kekuhi's transgender daughter, in the wahine mahu tradition that goes back generations in Hawaiian culture.

Kekuhi & Kaumakaiwa --vocals, chant, & pahu
Shawn Pimental -- guitar & vocals

“[Kekuhi] sings and chants in a style often described in terms such as "primeval,"    [yet] considers innovation and evolution to be important in keeping traditional practices alive.” --Honolulu Star Bulletin

“Kanaka’ole… vaulted through various registers and timbres, from bass to witchy contralto rasp to sweet soprano (… “skinny girl” voice, [she] said), a traditionalist tour de force.” –New York Times

Their music is like no other in Hawai'i -- both have released award-winning CDs on their own and will soon release their newest CD project, combining their amazing vocal talents in new songs and family compositions deeply rooted in tradition. Some of the most original work to emerge from the contemporary Hawaiian music scene, the source of their music is in the ancient chants – ‘oli – that are an intrinsic part of their renowned hula practice.


"It was really amazing to see the whole process, and how generous Kekuhi and Kaumakaʻiwa were in sharing this experience with us, showing us how all the parts are related in a profoundly organic process.  We had full-houses for all events [lec-dems, workshops & public performance] -- University of Michigan

Hawaiian mother/transgender (mahu) daughter duo explore the meaning of traditional Hawaiian indigenous thought, as expressed through the island's cultural practices and anchored in their own practice, perspective, and traditional ecological knowledge. Thought-provoking, witty, visionary. Don't miss this powerful insight into Hawaiian traditions.