Multi-award-winning Hawaiian supergroup Na Palapalai, with band members Kuana Torres Kahele, Kapulanakehau Tamure, and Keao Costa, will reunite for a special concert at 7 pm on Saturday June 8 at the historic Palace Theater in Hilo, Hawaii.
Kuana 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. Once he was discovered to have exceptional musical abilities he was pulled from the hula line and added as a permanent halau musician. Kuana is known primarily for his original acoustic compositions, written and performed in the Hawaiian language.
In 1995, at 17, Kuana and fellow Hilo native and falsetto musician, Kehau Tamure, emerged as one of the most popular Hawaiian Music groups to date, NA PALAPALAI. They were raised on traditional music and laid the foundation for what has come to be known as their distinctive Na Palapalai sound.
Na Palapalai released “Makani ‘Olu’olu” in 2002 to meteoric success and raves from the critics. Kuana’s original, “Ke Anu O Waimea” is still the most popular hula song in Japan to this day. Na Palapalai has continued to maintain it’s popularity 20 years later and has released seven albums to date. Several have charted in the top five on the Billboard Top World Albums chart, and the group has won a large number of Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, including Group of the Year.
Kahele released his long awaited solo album, Kaunaloa, in 2012, which reached No. 2 on the Top World Albums Charts. His album lead to a creation of new hula from kumu the world over due to its freshness of style and content. That same year it swept every major award at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year.
He has released several charting solo albums since, and in 2014, he embarked on an ambitious project where he planned a multi-year release of a six-CD series entitled, “Music for the Hawaiian Islands” in which he pays tribute to each individual island with original music and poetic lyrics written specifically for hula. This passionate undertaking has contributed nearly 100 new songs specifically designed to inspire new hula and will have created an indelible record of everything that is loved about Hawaii.
Kahele regularly teaches cultural workshops and other classes, and operates the Na Lei Lanakila O Ni’ihau halau on the island of Ni’ihau. Kahele developed a long- standing relationship with the Niihau halau after being asked to teach hula to a small group of women based on mele he had written specifically for the island. This relationship led to him raising awareness and funds for the Ni’ihau Ohana. He passionately supports their efforts by selling their lei pupu, or shell lei, at his concerts and returning 100 percent of the profits to the lei makers. This has benefitted many families in need of assistance, as well as encouraged the art and appreciation of lei pupu.
Kuana’s skills at Lei making are unsurpassed. The Palace Theater has twice hosted his sold out Lei making workshops to delighted participants.
Kuana currently maintains his own Hawaiian Music & Culture School in Japan. He teaches in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka with over 200 combined students. He offers 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. He performs and teaches cultural workshops all over the world.
The Palace Theater could not be more proud to host Na Palapalai in this special concert and return to their beloved hometown of Hilo.
Tickets are on sale now at the Palace Box Office. General Admission tickets available online via Eventbrite
Call (808) 934-7010 for more information or stop by the Palace Monday through Friday during box office hours between 10 am and 3 pm.