Lei Making, Hula ʻAu
Kuana Torres Kahele is a Hawaiian composer, choreographer and recording artist born in Hilo, Hawaii. Only 42, Kuana has over 25 years of professional experience in Hula and Hawaiian music having been groomed as a child from renowned Hilo kumu, Johnny Lum Ho and Halau Ka Ua Kani Lehua. He first gained notoriety on the Hawaiian and World music scene as 1/3 of the award winning falsetto trio, Na Palapalai.
Known primarily for his original compositions for hula, Kahele recently completed a monumental five year songwriting project to complete an album of new music for each of the seven Hawaiian Islands. His first volume in the series, MUSIC for the HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, honored his island birthplace, Hawaii Keawe. All six subsequent releases have charted at the top of the Billboard World Music chart. By the end of the series, Kahele has written and recorded over 100 new songs for Hawaii, an unprecedented achievement in Hawaiian music.
He gained worldwide attention 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 and 2017 DVDs, “Make Lei vol.1 and vol.2” 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.
His most recent CD release, “NANI WAI’ALE” made the Billboard pop charts debuting at #27.
Although Kuana is well known for his performance abilities, his true passion is teaching hula and sharing Hawaiian culture with students worldwide. He has conducted hula and Hawaiian craft workshops across the continental United States, Canada, Mexico and much of Asia, Europe and Russia.