Kainani Kahaunaele is a mele (Hawaiian song) enthusiast, singer, songwriter, teacher, and musician. She was born and raised in Anahola, Kauaʻi and has lived in Hilo, Hawaiʻi for 27 years as an advocate for Hawaiian language revitalization and the perpetuation of Hawaiian music through education and performance.
While earning her B.A in Hawaiian Studies and Master’s degree in Hawaiian Literature at Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language and Literature of UH Hilo, this talented songstress started singing professionally and composing traditional songs (haku mele) as Hawaiian language curriculum for ʻAha Pūnana Leo (a pioneering Hawaiian language revitalization program). It also encouraged and promoted the documentation of our current history through mele and garnered five Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards along the way for her CDs Naʻu ʻOe (2003) and ʻŌhai ʻUla (2010), including Haku Mele of the Year (Composer of Hawaiian Song award), Hawaiian Language Performance, Most Promising Artist, and the highly coveted Female Vocalist of the Year establishing Kainani as one of the most notable talents of her generation.
Kainani’s proficiency in haku mele attracted many renown artists such as Weldon Kekauoha, Aaron Salā, Nā Leo, Lehua Kalima & Shawn Pimental, and Kapono Nāʻiliʻili to record her original mele while numerous hālau hula have danced her songs in Hawaiʻi and around the world. She has also recorded with many artists from Hawaiʻi including Kealiʻi Reichel, Kaumakaʻiwa Kanakaʻole, Kekuhi Kanahele, Manu Boyd, Shilo Pā, Moemoeā, and with her former band Kahikina. She was also part of Project Kuleana’s inaugural videos Kaulana Nā Pua and All Hawaiʻi Stands Together, and Playing For Change’s Natural Mystic. Her songs have been featured on Hawaiʻi 5-0, Hawaiʻi Skin Diver, ʻŌiwi TV, three Kamehameha School Song Contests, several Merrie Monarch competitions, and in the sci-fi comedy drama film Strange Frame: Love & Sax. Also known for her warm dynamic vocal abilities, Kainani’s charming voice amplifies the imagery of the songs, enabling delightful encounters with the poetry she delivers.
Kainani’s highly anticipated and brand new CD release Waipunalei showcases her new original music and collaborations with over 20 of Hawaiʻi’s finest musicians. Waipunalei will lyrically take us on a trip throughout Hawaiʻi and beyond with traditional Hawaiian, contemporary, jazz, and RnB musical flavors.
The Waipunalei CD also features a comprehensive mele booklet complete with lyrics, imagery interpretation, contextual notes, and rich graphics.
For inquiries and bookings: