“My Grandma saved up for months to buy used Kamaka ‘ukulele from Agasa’s Furniture and Music Store in Hilo. She surprised me with it for my 9th birthday and I think to this day is the most important gift I ever received. It sparked such a fire within me for music, and gave me the confidence in composing mele of my own.
Although I am a guitar player by profession, my Kamaka ‘ukulele is what I use to play music for me. I have written all my original music on a Kamaka. Crafting a good song requires a delicate balance of inspiration and ability. Unlocking THAT can sometimes be the hardest part. My Kamaka ‘ukulele is what allows me to tap into that magic.”
Kuana Torres Kahele is a Hawaiian composer, choreographer and recording artist born in Hilo, Hawaii. At 37, he already has over 25 years of professional experience in Hula and Hawaiian music having been groomed as a child from famed Hilo kumu, Johnny Lum Ho and Halau Ka Ua Kani Lehua.
Known primarily for his original compositions for hula, Kahele recently undertook a monumental four year songwriting project to complete an album of new music for each of the Hawaiian Islands. His first volume in the series, MUSIC for the HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, honored his island birthplace, Hawaii Keawe. All four volumes in the series, Hawaii Island, Niihau, Maui and Kaua’i have debuted at the top of the Billboard World Music chart. Upon completion, Kahele will have written and recorded over 100 new songs for Hawaii, an unprecedented achievement in Hawaiian music.
He gained worldwide notoriety in June 2015, starring as both the narrator and male lead, UKU, a lovesick volcano in Disney Pixar’s hit movie, LAVA. The theme song from LAVA debuted at #1 on the Billboard Soundtrack chart and remained there for months. This brought a new, global audience to his music and lei making. His 2015 DVD, “Make Lei” took Hawaiian culture to the far reaches of the world, allowing anyone to share a tiny bit of Aloha in their part of the world.