Kekuhi Kanahele

Main Stage
Saturday May 5, 11:00 am
Performing chants with her mother, Pualani Kanaka’ole Kanahele and her son, Kaumaka’iwa Kanaka’ole

Title of latest album: Songs from Hawai‘i Island

Genre: Hawaiian
: The Mountain Apple;  ; 2002
List price: $12.98; iTunes: $9.99
Songs from Hawai‘i Island: Daniel Ho Creations; [broken link on website]; 2007
List price: $14.99; iTunes: $9.99

Honey-Boy: Mother – daughter – wife – educator – scholar – dancer – musician – vocalist – composer – cultural leader – powerful role model – tita!

Another spectacular release from the multi-faceted Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, Kekuhi Kanahele-Frias. Mostly Hawaiian, but the tune “Honey-Boy” reveals the lusty, jazzy side of Kekuhi lettin’ it rip! Liner notes include Hawaiian lyrics (no translations).

Songs from Hawai‘i Island: A collection of mele from some of Hawai‘i island’s talented musicians.

There are countless songs honoring all that is Hawai‘i nei, but there is unique delight when the music celebrates stories of one’s homeland.


Kekuhi’s music, in fact Kekuhi, is a product of her culture and an amazing family tree linked to the history of these islands. Everything that will perpetuate the Hawaiian culture has been laid before Kekuhi. She has drunk deeply from that body of knowledge and now begins to shape and develop a new energy of Hawaiian music… music that extracts from the origins of these islands and clearly demonstrates what it means to be Hawaiian in the late 20th century.

This CD brought tears to my eyes. Kekuhi’s powerful and primal voice resonates with the essential magic of Hawaii. Of Hawaiian descent, I felt transported to the home of my people.

Kekuhi Kanahele’s first album, “Kekuhi,” is Hawaiian music at its very best. If you ever get a chance to see this woman, and her husband/co-songwriter Kaipo Frias, perform, by all means do so. She is da’ real kine! This album has incredible range of traditional songs, chants and more contemporary songs.

Kekuhi Kanahele-Frias is director of the Hawaiian Lifestyles Program at Hilo Community College and a Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning recording artist and educator. Kanahele took top honors in the Female Vocalist category that year with her second album, “Kekuhi Kanahele.” She has concentrated since then on her academic career, the halau and her family.

Kanahele sings and chants in a style often described in terms such as “primeval,” suggesting a life spent isolated in some remote and unspoiled jungle valley. Nonetheless, she is as comfortable negotiating the arcane procedures involved in applying for academic research grants as she is performing with the family halau. Halau O Kekuhi has moved forward on both traditional and contemporary/experimental fronts.

Kanahele-Frias says the family considers innovation and evolution to be important in keeping traditional practices alive.

She believes Kanaka‘ole to be among the first to venture from a traditional chant and hula into other forms of performing arts.

Kanahele’s other works:

Hahani Mai; 1996

Pride of Punahele – Various Artists; 1998

Kekuhi; 1998

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection – Vol 2; 1999

Hawai‘i- Kekuhi Kanahele-Frias Interview


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