They are granddaughter and great-grandchild of Edith Kanaka‘ole, one of the leaders of the Hawaiian Renaissance movement of the ’60s and ’70s, which brought hula, Hawaiian art and culture, and Hawaiian language back into the active life of the islands. The family hula practice, Halau O Kekuhi, is renowned for its deep roots in tradition, “bombastic” style of hula inspired by the active Volcano that is its home, and continued evolution into the 21st century.
Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani is a force, mother - daughter - wife - educator - scholar - dancer - musician - vocalist - composer - cultural leader - powerful role model, whose vocal power syncs seamlessly with Kaumakaiwa. She grew up on the slopes of the volcano Mauna A Wakea and Mauna Loa, and in the daily influence of Kilauea, regarded as a family ancestor. Fluent in Hawaiian as well as English, surrounded by hula and Hawaiian music and all types of Western music, educated in Hawaiian tradition and earning advanced degrees in Western universities, she defines what it means to be an indigenous intellectual in a contemporary world. Her vision is to engage indigenous thought and body of knowledge to address today’s issues and challenges through music, chant, and sharing of the spirit. Music and performing arts is her way of sharing the depths of Hawaiian culture with all audiences.
Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole (vocals, percussion) has been on the stage since she could walk. With five Nā Hōkū Hanohano (Hawaiian Grammy) awards to her credit and a growing reputation as “the voice of Hawai’i’s new generation, she was the first Hawaiian performer invited to appear at New York's globalFEST 2011, one of only 13 artists representing cultures from around the world. As an ‘olapa’ (dancer), ho‘opa‘a (chanter), and kumu hula (hula master) of Hālau O Kekuhi, she expresses all aspects of hula, ‘oli, haku mele (song composition), and choreography. She speaks Hawaiian as well as English, and navigates easily between Hawaiian traditions and Western culture. In 2013, Kaumakaiwa began to identify female with the support of her family and Hawaiian cultural tradition (māhū wahine). Her tour with her mother Kekuhi is the first mother-transgender daughter performance duo in Hawaiian music, and perhaps anywhere.Shawn Pimental (guitar, vocals) is a consummate musician and award-winning record producer. He has performed with some of Hawai‘i’s leading recording artists, offering his talents on guitar, drums, bass, and vocals. He is co-owner of Studio Ala Moana, a prime recording studio in Honolulu, and owner of the record label Koops2 Entertainment, which represents both premier artists and emerging independents from Hawai‘i, in styles ranging from traditional Hawaiian to contemporary to reggae.
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