Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole is a true original in contemporary Hawaiian music, drawing from ancestral memory and hula practice, traditional chant and modern melody. A transgender Hawaiian (mahu wahine), she is a keeper of culture, an authentic innovator and hilarious raconteur.
Her roots are in the hula of the esteemed Kanaka‘ole family of Hawaii Island, whose Hawaiian cultural practices have been passed down through eight matrilineal generations.
Kanaka‘ole tours with her mother Kekuhi. They are the first mother–transgender daughter performance duo in Hawaiian music, and perhaps anywhere. Stories and song combine in a riveting and moving performance from the heart.
Kanaka‘ole was honoured with an Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship Award. With five Nā Hōkū Hanohano (Hawaiian Grammy) awards, Kanaka‘ole was the first Hawaiian performer to appear at the prestigious First Nations cultures festival The Dreaming in Australia; and the first Hawaiian performer to appear at globalFEST in New York.