Kuana Torres Kahele Closes HPR’s 2013 Atherton Summer Season

Sep 2, 2013

September 14th Concert Features Original Songs from New Release “Kāhele”

Kuana Torres Kahele

  On Saturday, September 14, at 7:30 p.m., Kuana Torres Kahele, recognized as one of the leading living Hawaiian composers, offers the final concert in HPR’s stellar 2013 Atherton Summer Season. This special performance in the intimate Atherton Studio features new compositions from his highly anticipated second solo CD, Kāhele. Reservations may be made online at online or by calling the station (955-8821) during regular business hours. Tickets are $30 general, $25 for HPR members, and $15 for students with ID. The Atherton Studio is located at Hawaii Public Radio, 738 Kaheka Street.

Kāhele contains 14 original songs, written over the span of ten years, which provide a glimpse into the composer’s life, loves, and travels. The upbeat “Leime‘ala” is a catchy and humorous tribute to his mother and her less than desirable karaoke skills. The English/Hawaiian power duet with Maila Gibson, “E Ku‘u Lei, My Love,” is already in heavy radio rotation. Kahele reintroduces the accordion to Hawaiian music with “Aloha Sorrento” written while on a vacation to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The liner notes tell of his trip and how he was captivated by the beauty of Italy spurring him to write two new pieces on that vacation.

Kumu hula Sonny Ching and Lopaka Igarta-De Vera of the critically acclaimed Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu praise Kahele’s sound and style: “We love his vocal range and how he expresses his love for Hawaiian music from both a traditional standpoint and this wonderful new, contemporary sound.”

Kuana Torres Kahele was born on the slopes of Mauna Kea in Hilo, Hawai‘i.  He began composing, arranging and playing traditional Hawaiian music at an early age.

Coming from an impressive lineage of musicians including Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln, Victor Kala, the Lim Family and George Holokai, Kuana seemed destined for a life of traditional Hawaiian music.  He was inducted at 15 by renowned kumu Johnny Lum Ho as one of his permanent musicians for Hālau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua.  Eighteen years later, Kahele still returns when needed to play for the Hilo hālau.

In 1995 Kahele, with Kehau Tamure, formed the multi-award-winning Nā Palapalai.  The duo gained critical acclaim for reviving Hawaiian classics, as well as for their new compositions.  The group has maintained a prominent presence in both the local and international hula and Hawaiian music scene.  To this day, Kahele’s original “Ke Anu O Waimea,” from their debut album Makani ‘Olu‘olu, is the most popular hula song in Japan, home to over 10,000 hula hālau groups.

Still in his early 30’s, Kahele has over 15 years of professional experience in the music industry. Fans know him for his incredible vocal range, while fellow musicians seek him out for his arranging, songwriting and producing abilities. He has co-produced and arranged two consecutive Album of the Year winners, Kaunaloa and Lei Pua Kenikeni performed by Mark Yamanaka, and has garnered 13 Nā Hōkū awards in just two years.

Kahele’s debut solo CD, Kaunaloa won seven Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards in 2012 which tied Keali‘i Reichel for the most Hōkū’s ever won in a year by a single artist. The CD has continued to gain momentum and popularity long after its release with almost every song being choreographed for hula.