Kuana Torres Kahele

Hawaiian

Hilo, Hawaii

Kuana Torres Kahele is a Hawaiian musician, vocalist, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and educator. The majority of his lyrics are written and performed in the Hawaiian language. In 2014 he started the Hawaiian Islands series, and has completed five albums featuring five Hawaiian islands since. Kahele has also voiced the lead character in Lava, an animated short film by Pixar. Kahele regularly teaches cultural workshops, and operates the Na Lei Lanakila O Ni'ihau halau on the island of Ni'ihau. In Japan he runs the Kuana School of Hawaiian Music & Culture, teaching approximately 200 combined students in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka

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Back in Jul' 2016 in Hilo...

At the Prince Lot Hula Festival, a celebration and sharing of Hula Culture on Honolulu’s last Hula mound, just incredible to see numerous Hula schools continuing this foundation of Hawai’ian traditions, and also incredible to hear that, “special guest Kuana Torres Kahele will be appearing at the Mountain Apple Music tent at 12.30”. We fronted up introducing the project and ourselves and with just one spare day before heading off on tour, he said, “I have to do this, I will fly to the Island of Hawai’i (The Big island) to take you to a forest I just discovered!”

 

Meeting at Hilo that morning Kuana and his nephew guided us up to the Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii standing 4,207 m above sea level, we parked the cars, and walked through the aa (pronounce ah-ah) lava flows to a beautiful patch of new growth ʻōhiʻa lehua forest, which is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaiʻi.

 

By the time we had set up the cameras and mics, Kuana had written a beautiful new song dedicated to and inspired by the oasis surrounding us.

Aloha ʻia nō na kumu lāʻau 

ʻŌhiʻa lehua o ke kipuka o uka

 

Kū aku nei ʻoe i ka nani o ka noe 

Uahi a Pele me ka ua aʻo Lilinoe

 

Hanu lipo hoʻi wau ke ʻala onaona

Ke ʻala anuhea aʻo ka palai

 

Ke kani mai nei a ka manu i luna

Ka ʻio o ka lani, e ʻolēhala mai nei

 

Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana

He mele o ke kipuka o uka o ke kuahiwi

Loved are the ʻōhiʻa lehua trees

Of this upland oasis

 

Your beauty stands out over the haze

And the lilinoe rains 

 

I breath deep of the fragrance

The cool fragrance of the palai

 

The bird sounds above

The 'io of the heavens sings cheerfully

 

Told is the refrain

A song for the oasis of the upland mountain region

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