Mele and lei with Kuana Torres Kahele

The Palace Theater announces the return of Kuana Torres Kahele in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday. In addition to the performance, Kahele will teach an 11 a.m. “Make Lei” workshop that same day.

The workshop is $65 and includes all needed materials for the 2 1/2-hour class. Concert attendees also will receive a free CD featuring the music of Kahele.


“Kuana’s silky voice is just the beginning of this man’s talent,” said Palace Executive Director Morgen Bahurinsky. “He is a prolific songwriter, having just completed No. 6 in his Hawaiian Island series of CDs, one for each island. Being a local boy, Kuana often performs at small community venues like our Hawaii County Building at Christmastime with his own self-recorded background vocals and instruments.

“But ‘mele’ is not his only contribution to the arts. Kuana designs and creates stunning lei and has published two ‘Make Lei’ instructional DVDs. He teaches lei making and hula around the world.”

Kahele released his first solo album, “Kaunaloa,” in 2012 which reached No. 2 on the Top World Albums Chart. It also won him five Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, including male vocalist of the year. In 2014, he began a six-CD homage to each individual Hawaiian island beginning with “Hawaii Keawe,” about the Island of Hawaii. To date, he also has completed albums for Niihau, Maui, Kauai, Lanai and Molokai. Each album features his award-winning voice, his creative view of each island and its beauty expressed in the Hawaiian language.

Extending his talent, Kahele also voiced the lead character in “Lava,” a 2014 animated short film from Pixar.

Born and raised in Piihonua in upper Hilo, Kahele has studied hula and music since he was 6 years old. His musical abilities include a photographic musical memory. Known primarily for his original acoustic compositions, he arranges traditional Hawaiian music as well, performing and recording with instruments such as ukulele, guitar, ipu and bass.

He also regularly teaches cultural workshops and other classes, and operates the Na Lei Lanakila O Ni‘ihau halau on the island of Niihau. In Japan, Kahele operates the Kuana School of Hawaiian Music & Culture, teaching approximately 200 combined students in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

This year, he has written special introduction and exit songs for the performers taking part in the 2018 Merrie Monarch Festival.

In addition to band members Ioane Burns and Glenn Mayeda, vocalist Liam Moleta will join Saturday’s show.

“It promises to be a very special evening of mele,” Bahurinsky said.


Advance tickets are $25 general admission, $30 for side reserved and $40 for center reserved. All ticket prices will be $5 more on the day of show.

Concert and workshop tickets are on sale now at the Palace Theater Box Office, open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by calling 934-7010.

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