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Hawaiʻi Island musician talks debut album, crossroads of identity

Keanaliʻiomanaʻe Bertelmann

Big Island musician and singer Keanaliʻiomanaʻe Bertelmann, known to many as Ana B, just released her first album, "Ku’u Kulāiwi." It celebrates places around her home island that have inspired her.

Bertelmann grew up in a musical family in Waimea on Hawaiʻi Island, but you may recognize her last name for a different reason. Her father Clay was one of the original Hōkūleʻa crew members and her sister Pomai was one of the first female captains of the voyaging canoe.

The new album is unique not only because of the quality sound and production, but also because she made a debut record at an age when most musicians are issuing “best of” compilations or winding down their careers.

The release comes shortly after her decision to embrace her identity as a transgender woman. The Conversation sat down with Ana B to talk about her music and the crossroads of identity.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Dec. 28, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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