A remarkable and riveting performer, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole [Pronounced: Kao-mah-kah-EE-vah Kah-nah-kah-OH-ley] has been on the stage since she could walk. Now just in her 30's, she has a growing reputation as “the voice of Hawai‘i’s new generation.” Her roots are in the hula of the esteemed Kanaka’ole Family of Hawai’i Island, whose hula and Hawaiian cultural practices have been passed down through seven generations and beyond. She grew up speaking Hawaiian as well as English, listening to Hawaiian music and all types of Western music, educated in Hawaiian tradition and in Western culture.
Kaumakaiwa brings to the stage an immense talent as a singer, chanter, and dancer as well as a deep understanding of Hawaiian culture and her place as a modern transgender Hawaiian in our contemporary world. Her performances and music seamlessly meld Hawaiian culture and modern sensibilities.
Drawing from ancient ‘oli (chant) traditions, modern melodies, and original mele (songs), Kaumakaiwa's powerful mix of music showcases her voice and its range from baritone chant to Hawaiian falsetto singing. During the course of a show, she'll perform with pahu (Hawaiian drum) for traditional chant and with guitarist Shawn Pimental in her contemporary work. Most of her material features her own original compositions
This engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.