A&E Wrap-Up: March 26, 2021

  • Grammy Award-winning slack key guitarist John Keawe headlined Kona Community Hospital Auxiliary’s annual benefit and silent auction in 2017 in Kailua-Kona. Kahilu Theatre presents the Grammy and multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning slack key guitarist, composer, and recording artist April 2 at 7 p.m. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Kahilu Theatre presents ‘John Keawe LIVE’

Kahilu Theatre is proud to present Grammy and multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning slack key guitarist, composer, and recording artist John Keawe. Keawe is making his Kahilu Theatre debut with this performance that will stream live on Kahilu.TV April 2 at 7 p.m., followed by a live chat with Keawe.


Keawe, who was born on the Big Island, is known throughout these Hawaiian Islands for his island music infused with the spirit of Aloha and reflective of many elements personal to him. Keawe grew up with rock and roll music and enjoyed listening to the many singer/songwriters from this genre. After a four year tour in the Navy, he returned to Hawaii and was drawn to the sound of Hawaiian slack key. He listened and taught himself to play this style of music, developing his own distinct style. John has recorded several albums, bringing Hawaiian slack key into the homes of people from around the world.

Joining Keawe for this performance will be his wife, Hope Keawe. Hope was born and raised in North Kohala and comes from a family of eight children, all of whom reside in Hawaii. The two met upon his return from the Navy and they were married a year later. Hope is known for her elegant hula and has become an integral part of John’s performances by providing beautiful interpretations of his original compositions as well as traditional Hawaiian songs.

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

Kamalei Kawa‘a releases new single

Maui native and leader of the four-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning group Na Wai ‘Eha Kamalei Kawa‘a debuts his first solo recording and music video, “Sweet Dreams Ku‘u Momi”.

A fluent speaker of ‘olelo Hawaii, Kawa‘a is a product of Ke Kula Kaiapuni ma Maui and a current student of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii Maui College. As a full-time teacher at Seabury Hall and director of the He Ha‘upu Aloha hula program, he credits hula, his kumu hula, and his parents for inspiring him to sing Hawaiian music.

Growing up around music, Kawa‘a inspiration to sing Hawaiian music eventually became a kuleana, as he realized that “there were only a few kids our age singing Hawaiian music.” In 2012, he founded “Na Wai ‘Eha,” a group whose traditional Hawaiian music eventually garnered four Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

“As I embark on this new journey to become a solo recording artist, I’m so grateful for my ‘ohana who has always supported me in my decision to play and sing Hawaiian music,” he said. “I am also grateful for the many people who inspired me to become the musician I am today. Most importantly, I am grateful to ke Akua for blessing me with the gift of music.”

Kawa‘a’s debut release is a composition for his late great-grandmother, Mary Momi Kaililaau Kawai, affectionately known as “Granny” by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Kawa‘a recalled fond memories of Granny’s stories — from living in the uplands of Kailua, to summers of farming kalo at Papaea. These stories resonated with a deep love for her home in Ko‘olau, Maui, and as such, inspired Kawa‘a to compose this honorific mele —releasing it on her birthday, March 22.


“As you enjoy this mele,” he shared. “I hope that you are reminded of your loved ones who have passed, and remember that they are watching you from the heavens above until our time comes to be reunited with them.” To his Granny, he dedicates this refrain: “E moe i ke aloha mau loa — sleep in everlasting love.”

Sweet Dreams Ku‘u Momi is available on all digital platforms.

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