Kuana Torres Kahele

Vocalist, composer, guitarist and also Kumu hula, Kuana Torres Kahele is one of Hawaiian music’s most popular musicians. He has a style steeped in everything from hula to standard folk, jazz, swing to country music. His smooth tone voice (and also silky falsetto), and call and response choruses occupy his weaving of standard and also modern instruments.  Kahele has created his own course via Hawaii’s music history particularly in hula music. Developing a sound definitely of his very own.

Begins His Training At A Young Age

Kuana began studying music in Hilo on the Island of Hawaii, learning to play typical instruments. These included the ukulele, ipu, bass, as well as the acoustic guitar in addition to some kihoalu or slack key. He began writing his own tunes and also creating highly original arrangements for standard songs. He additionally discovered how to dance male hula as well as mele, producing a distinctive performing identity.

One particular song that captures the hearts of hula halaus all over the world is “Ke Anu O Waimea.” He originally wrote the song for his mother. It was comparing her beauty to that of Waimea, on the island of Hawai’i. This is where she and his father first met and fell in love.

A Song Especially for Momma

“My idea was to write this song for her and surprise her with it. Tape record it when the CD was completed. This would certainly be an outstanding surprise birthday present for my mother,” he says. “We recorded it, the launch was established, however, about a month prior to the cd release, my mama died.” It was a tough impact for Kuana and also disorienting. His mom passed just as Makani ‘Olu ‘Olu, the cd and “Ke Anu o Waimea,” the song, was taking off in popularity.

“It was an extremely tough time singing that song. I couldn’t get that feeling out of my head, because it was for my mom, the timing, and all of that. I’d make either Keao or Kehau in the band sing it due to the fact that I couldn’t. It’s a beautiful song, very hula, so uplifting. I simply had a tough time with it.”

Kuana Torres Kahele

Kuana Torres Kahele

 

 

 

Kuana says he feels far better singing it today. It is gratifying to see how it’s lived on, more than a decade later. “Ke Anu o Waimea” has come to be the No. 1 most asked for hula song. Whether in Hawai’i, on the Mainland, or in Japan, he claims. “It is a household name within hula. It would certainly be difficult to find a hālau that doesn’t recognize it. To think that it’s honoring my mom, that makes me feel very happy.”

 

Ke Anu O Waimea with Kuana Torres Kahele and Na Palapalai.