Kuana Torres to perform pair of benefit shows in Lihu‘e

LIHU‘E — Six-time Na Hoku Hanohano award winner Kuana Torres Kahele is on island for a pair of concerts this weekend in Lihu‘e.

On Saturday, the art of hula will be shared by more than 200 dedicated, local dancers as award-winning Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala hosts “Kuana on Kaua‘i.”

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall. Doors open at 4 p.m.

During this evening of exquisite Hawaiian music and hula, Kumu Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin will share her kaikamahine, keiki kane, opio, kane, wahine and kupuna dance, with each group performing hula ‘auana, according to a release.

Torres — the 2012 Na Hoku Hanohano Male Vocalist of the Year — and Kaua‘i band Kawili will provide their Hawaiian sounds during the evening. Dickie Chang will serve as emcee of the festivities.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase prior to the show and during the intermission. Local Hawaiian-inspired crafters will also have hand-made products available for purchase.

Proceeds from the event will support the wahine’s trip to the 50th Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in April, as well as the keiki dancers as they return to the Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition on O‘ahu in July.

“I am very proud of all of my dancers and I teach them to share our Hawaiian culture through the stories their dances tell, as well as give 100 percent during each performance,” Jardin said in a news release for the event. “We are humbled and extremely honored to be invited to the 50th Anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. It is a very special and exciting time for all our dancers, and we are proud to represent Kaua‘i wherever we are asked to dance.”

Tickets for “Kuana on Kaua‘i” cost $20 in advance and are available at Kujo’s Mini Mart (Kalaheo), Uncle’s Shave Ice (Po‘ipu), The Wine Shop (Koloa), Mokihana Travel (Lihu‘e) and Vicky’s Fabrics (Kapa‘a). If not already sold out, tickets will be available at the door for $25.

Prior to Saturday’s performance, Torres will hold an intimate concert and autograph session beginning at 11 a.m. Friday at the Kaua‘i Museum in Lihu‘e.

“This is an amazing opportunity for all to share in the best of Hawai‘i’s musical culture with the premier artist of our generation,” wrote Melisa Paterson of the Kaua‘i Museum in an email. “He just won all the major Na Hoku Hanohano awards for 2012 — Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Hawaiian Album of the Year. It’d be like having someone sweep the Grammys and then getting to see them in an exclusive performance.”

General admission to the museum is $10, $8 for kama‘aina, with discounted rates for students and seniors.

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