Kauai Museum welcomes back award-winning musician

LIHUE — It’s almost time to make your way to the Kauai Museum for a relaxing morning of Hawaiian tunes with Kuana Torres Kahele.

“I’m excited to be back,” said Kahele, who offers a “real mix” of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian. 

But for those who think they know contemporary Hawaiian sound, Kahele promises a surprise. 

“If you don’t know who I am you probably want to come down, because I’m definitely different than everyone else,” he said.

The museum is excited to welcome back the multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning vocalist and musician, who performs from 10:30 a.m. to noon Friday.

“We love his music,” said Museum Director Jane Gray. “Kuana is like a new shining star on the horizon for Hawaiian music.” 

Kahele has been involved in the music and hula scene of Hilo since he was 6 years old. He trained as a kane dancer under legendary Hilo kumu hula Johnny Lum Ho until the age of 13 and later was discovered to have exceptional musical abilities. 

In 1995, at 17, he and fellow Hilo native and falsetto musician, Kehau Tamure, laid the foundation for what emerged as one of the most popular Hawaiian music groups to date, “Na Palapalai.” In 2011, he released his long-awaited solo debut, “Kaunaloa,” which won every major award at that year’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. 

Kahele currently maintains his own Hawaiian music and culture school in Japan, offering courses in voice, haku mele, mele hula, fresh lei making, ukulele and guitar. He is one of the most popular entertainers performing in Hawaii and Japan, according to his bio. 

“He is just outstanding,” said Gray, adding that hosting such a talented and culturally connected musician fits perfectly with the museum’s mission. 

Following his performance, Kahele will be signing CDs. For those without a museum membership, admission costs up to $10. 

The Kauai Museum is at 4482 Rice Street in Lihue. 

Info: 245-6931.

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