Kuana Torres Kahele is one such musician. Co-founder of the well-known, highly popular, and multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winning group Nā Palapalai, he was used to receiving requests to donate the group’s performance at various events. But upon releasing his first solo album (“Kaunaloa”) and receiving numerous awards for it at the 2012 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, those requests literally skyrocketed...
Heavily booked throughout 2012 for concert appearances, his school in Japan, the recording of another Nā Palapalai album as well as a solo Christmas album, and in 2013 for more concert appearances, work with his Japan school and the recording of another solo album (“KAHELE” – due out July 30), Kuana came up with a well thought-out solution to the dilemma of which charitable causes to support, and how to squeeze the time out of an already packed schedule. He recently posted the following in his fan newsletter:
“A NEW APPROACH TO FUNDRAISING IN 2013
“I am excited to announce a partnership with six organizations that I will direct 100% of my charitable efforts toward this year. They focus on two issues I am passionate about: our island keiki and the perpetuation of hula.
“As a local musician, I am bombarded all year with donation and free performance requests. This year, I have directly approached organizations I admire, and created fundraising events in six cities; Hilo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Kona and Lihu'e. Through donation of my performance fees along with Box Office and Concession revenue, we will raise over $150,000 for these very worthy organizations allowing them to continuing doing what they do best. I am honored to partner with the following groups this year:
Aloha United Way
KAPA Keiki Food Truck
Halau Ka Ua Kani Lehua (Kumu Johnny Lum Ho)
Halau Na Lei Hulu Ka Wekiu (Kumu Patrick Makuakane)
Halau Keali'i O Nalani (Kumu Keali'i Ceballos)
Halau Na Mamo 'O Pu'uanahulu (Kumu Sonny Ching)
Halau Ka Lei Mokihana 'O Leina'ala (Kumu Leina'ala Jardin)”
This creative idea will allow Kuana to continue to donate his time and talent and give back, while supporting those causes he is most passionate about – and in a very big way.
The fundraising events will be combined with his upcoming tour in support of his new album. “KAHELE” (which means to take a lei with you when you travel, but loosely translated for the CD to mean, "Take a Lei With You Wherever You Go") contains 14 original songs, all written by Kuana. Promotions for the CD will involve flower and shell lei.
Kuana will kick off a 37 city tour of Japan on June 18, followed by the Hawaiʻi and continental U.S. portion of the tour beginning August 3 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. As part of the tour, Kuana has organized six concerts where he’ll be donating his performance fee, the box office receipts and all concession revenue to a specific charity or hula hālau (school). The six venues all contain a minimum of 1,000 seats, thus guaranteeing each beneficiary organization a substantial donation. Hālau will be given the music in advance and will debut Kuana’s original music and hula at the shows. The concert in Kona (and possibly another on Maui, although that is unconfirmed as of this writing) will raise money for the Aloha United Way and the Keiki Food Truck, which delivers meals to low income kids during the summer and school breaks.
Ho’omaika’i (congratulations), Kuana - and mahalo nui loa for finding a way to continue the generosity for which you are known.
Note: There will be a CD release concert on Lana'i August 10th at the Four Seasons Lodge at Ko'ele, with additional concerts possible for Molokai, Las Vegas, and other locations. More information will be released about the tour as it becomes available. "Like" Kuanaʻs Facebook page and subscribe to his YouTube videos!