Mark Yamanaka to wow audiences: Kahilu Theatre presents 14-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner

  • Kahilu Theatre presents 14-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner Mark Yamanaka live on Kahilu TV at 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by a live chat with the artist. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Kahilu Theatre presents 14-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner Mark Yamanaka live on Kahilu TV at 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by a live chat with the artist. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Kahilu Theatre presents 14-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner Mark Yamanaka live on Kahilu TV at 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by a live chat with the artist.

A self-taught musician from Hilo, Yamanaka has become one of Hawaiian music’s most iconic voices. Yamanaka never imagined a life in the music industry, but his talent was identified early on by well-known Kumu Hula and Hawaiian musician Johnny Lum Ho, who became a mentor to him in 1997. Under Ho’s tutelage, Yamanaka learned to play and sing in the challenging falsetto style, mastering the difficult ha‘iha‘i technique with his clear, soaring voice. Though he is most notably identified with Hawaiian music, Yamanaka is a truly versatile artist. He counts Ho, Gary Haleamau, and Dennis Pavao as major influences in the development of his distinctive style of Hawaiian music.

But those who have seen Yamanaka live know that he can seamlessly cross over into other genres of music with powerhouse performances inspired by vocalists like Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, and Peabo Bryson. Whether he’s crooning a country ballad, pouring out his heart in a gospel hymn, or hitting the highs of a falsetto melody with effortless precision, he has wowed audiences around the world.

Yamanaka’s music is informed and inspired by his life experiences and his growth over the years is evident in the evolution of his music. His family plays a key role in his success; his two children and his wife providing him the strength and courage needed to persevere in the challenging industry of music. Music is an expression of the heart for this humble Hilo boy. Using the ever-present support of his family as the wind buffeting his sails and his talent as his guiding star, Yamanaka has been able to successfully navigate his way on his musical voyage. The journey has only just begun for this beloved musician and the future has never looked brighter.

Individual tickets for the show, which are good for an entire household, are $19.99 and available at Kahilu.TV.

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