YouTube (with Makana): Dichotomy
“Kealoha … slam poetry artist… thoughtful and provocative takes on life's highs and lows, mixing the funny with the serious. The poetry is blended with occasional musical riffs. The tracks are mind-bending and soul-cleansing ... the very essence of a bright young mind seeking a place in the world.” (Wayne Harada, Honolulu Advertiser)
"Hawai`i's First Poet Laureate" --Chicago Tribune
"National Slam Legend" --Honored at the 2010 National Poetry Slam
Kealoha is the first Poet Laureate of Hawai`i. As an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller, he has performed throughout the world -- from the White House to the `Iolani Palace, from Brazil to Switzerland. He is the first poet in Hawai`i's history to perform at a governor's inauguration, and in 2010 he was selected as a master artist for a National Endowment for the Arts program. In the 7 years that he has represented Hawai`i at the National Poetry Slam, he has performed on the finals stage 4 times, was ranked in the top ten of the nations best poets in 2007, and was honored as a "National Slam Legend" in 2010.
"Kealoha is an inspiration to the people of Hawai`i and is a leading force in promoting literacy and creative expression."
– Hawai`i Governor Neil Abercrombie
One of the new young voices of Hawai‘i, Kealoha is equally at home creating poetry based on Hawaiian chant as slam poetry riffs, performing on theater stages or outdoor festivals, speaking for lecture series or for kids.
He is the founder of HawaiiSlam, Youth Speaks Hawai`i (2-Time International Champions), and Honolulu’s First Thursdays (the largest registered poetry slam in the world with 600+ in attendance).Exciting, vibrant, timely, he is a keen and optimistic observer of life around him, able to evoke the feelings of youth or the poignant stories of Hawai‘i’s history, his sense of poetry and theater engaging audiences of all ages.
Kealoha was featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices series presented by Russell Simmons, and he has featured at major venues throughout the world including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (New York City), the Bowery Poetry Club (New York City), the Green Mill (Chicago), New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Planet Hip-Hop Festival), Schiffbau (Zurich, Switzerland), the Bienal do Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show. He is the poetic vocalist for Henry Kapono’s “Wild Hawaiian” project (nominated for a Grammy).
Kealoha has made dozens of television appearances, including two performances for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaii's Grammys), PBS's Long Story Short (with Leslie Wilcox), and the State of Hawaii’s “Can’t Fool the Youth” anti-smoking campaign that he wrote, performed, and co-directed. He has performed 4 times on the “World’s Greatest Poetry Slam” DVD series (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008) and starred in the movie “Hawai`i Slam: Poetry in Paradise.”
Kealoha graduated with honors from MIT with a degree in Nuclear Physics, served as a business consultant in San Francisco, and played around as a surf instructor prior to becoming a professional poet.
In the literature world, his poetry has been published by Bamboo Ridge, Real Word Magazine, and the Honolulu Weekly. Kealoha has shared the stage with leading artists Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Willie Nelson, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Jason Mraz, Michael Franti (Spearhead), Don Carlos, Medusa, and countless slam poetry superstars.
Finally, he has conducted workshops at over 100 schools, libraries, prisons, and community centers (including a Master’s Workshop at the Bamboo Ridge Writer’s Institute), and can offer excellent education services in conjunction with his performances.
Kealoha also tours with Kathy Yogi Collins, for a full-evening of spoken word from Hawai‘i.
The two have toured traditional storytelling festivals, as well as created full-evening shows together. The work can range from slam poetry to poignant pieces on widowhood; comical Hawaiian folktales to Japanese ghost stories; hilarious takes on Hawai‘i and its people to nostalgic remembrances of things past to razor-sharp perceptions of Hawai‘i today. All presented with the warmheartedness and “aloha” of the islands.
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