From Hawai’i

  • Kapena
    Kapena, considered to be one of Hawai’i’s premier island bands has more than 20 Island Music CD’s to their credit. Although the band has been through some changes, its founding member, Kelly Boy De Lima is still the band leader. Kapena continues to be an institution that embraces what islanders fell in love with when fans first heard the unique sound of their “electrifying” Kapena music.
    In the early 2000’s, Kelly Boy introduced Hawai’i to the next generation of Kapena, his three children—Kapena, Kalena and Lilo.
    With the next generation came a new, fresh Kapena sound. Kelly Boy’s three children have gained success of their own, writing new original music and being nominated and winning multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards. This new Kapena band offers a diverse new package for the old diehard Kapena fans as well as a new generation of Kapena fans.
    Instagram: @kapenamusic
  • Josh Tatofi

    Josh Tatofi was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i. His father, established local musician Tivaini Tatofi, is an original member of the acclaimed reggae band Kapena. As a child, music for Josh was inescapable. By the age of thirteen, Josh had begun performing throughout the Hawaiian Islands, establishing himself as a respected vocalist while gaining the recognition of his audiences and his peers. By the age of nineteen, Josh recorded an album with the wildly popular Maui band ʻEkolu. Spawn to the Kapena sound, Joshʻs early career resembled that of a reggae-lover, consisting of upbeat melodies, catchy hooks and local collaborations.

    But with idols like Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson, and ballad-ready chops to boot, Josh yearned to fuse his R&B soul with a love for his Polynesian heritage. “I ka wā ma hope, I ka wā mamua.” A Hawai’ian proverb meaning, the future is in the past. As Josh developed artistically, the heritage of his past became the gateway to discovering his future. In 2014, Josh had a career altering epiphany and discovered a home for his voice in traditional Hawaiian music.

    With the release of his first Hawai’ian language single, titled Pua Kiele, Josh expressed his adoration for the language, culture and traditions of Hawai’i. In 2016, Josh released a full-length Hawai’ian album, also titled Pua Kiele, and with it embedded his imprint in the Hawai’ian music scene. Since then, Josh has earned the nickname as, “the Luther Vandross of Hawai’i.” And with a significant title to bear, Josh Tatofi continues to express his soul through Hawaiian mele.

    In 2017, he won two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for the categories of Male Vocalist of the Year and Island Music Album of the Year for “Pua Kiele”. He garnered a Grammy nomination in 2018 for the same album in the category of Regional Roots.

    Official website:
  • Natalie Ai Kamauu

    Hawai`iʻs best kept secret is no secret anymore… Named “Miss Aloha Hula” at the prestigious Merry Monarch Hula Festival, four-time “Female Vocalist of the Year” Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awardee and Grammy Nominated Natalie Ai Kamauu blew into Hawai`iʻs music scene in 2005, immediately turning heads and perking ears with her break out album “ʻĒ”. The title itself said it all….” Extraordinary.” With a voice of an angel, Natalieʻs soaring melodies will whisk you to heights and depths of musical emotion. Though her sound is sweet and seemingly effortless, donʻt be mistaken. Sheʻs a powerhouse vocalist. Natalieʻs music is definitely Traditional Hawaiian but how she dances the fine line between old and new is what audiences adore her for. Always with flair, she dares to coalesce the two, bringing Hawai`iʻs past into the present. Together with her husband, Iolani Kamauu, they create a sound that is undeniably hers, a vanguard of Hawaiian of music.

    1990 Miss Aloha Hula – The Merrie Monarch Hula Festival
    2006 Female Vocalist of the Year – Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, “ʻĒ”
    2009 Female Vocalist of the Year – Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, “ʻĪ”
    2012 Female Vocalist of the Year – Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, “ʻĀ”
    2013 Anthology Album of the Year, “Eia" – Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, “EIA”
    2016 Female Vocalist of the Year – Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, “La La La La”
    2016 Single of the Year – Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, “Shower Tree”
    2016 Grammy Nominee, “La La La La”

  • Ku`uipo Kumukahi
    Ku’uipo Kumukahi is an artist of traditional Hawaiian music who is known for her continuance of traditional performance styles and instruments. Her first solo album was “Na Hiwa Kupuna O Ku’u One Hanau,” released in 1994. The album received a record-breaking nine nominations in the 1994 Na Hoku Hanohano Music Awards, the so-called “Grammys of Hawaiian Music.” In the end, it won in five categories, including Female Vocalist of the Year, Best Traditional Hawaiian Album, and the Haku Mele Award for “‘O Waikulumea.” It was four years before Kumukahi’s next album, “Na Leo Kama’aina O Ku’u ‘Aina Ho’oheno,” appeared; the album won a Na Hoku Hanohano Music Award for Excellence for the Use of the Hawaiian Language in Song Compositions.
  • Herb Ohta Jr.

    International recording artist Herb Ohta, Jr., is considered to be one of today’s most prolific `ukulele masters. Influenced by Jazz, R&B, Latin and Brazilian music, he puts his stamp on Hawaiian music by pushing the limits of tone and technique on this beautiful instrument. The son of `ukulele legend "Ohta-san", he started playing at the age of three, and teaching at the age of 9. He now shares the music of Hawai`i, and the beauty of the `ukulele with people around the world, performing and conducting instructional workshops. This seven-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee (Hawaiian equivalent to the Grammy) and two-time Hawai`i Music Award winner effortlessly translates the beauty and culture of Hawai`i through his creative expression of music. With eight solo albums, seven duet albums in circulation, and contributions on more than 40 recordings, he is well on his way to matching his father’s legacy. His latest release, "Cocolo:`Ukulele J-Ballads" was a Japan only release in June of 2009. In 2010 Herb is celebrated his 20th Anniversary in the music industry releasing two new recordings, "`Ukulele Nahenahe" & "Take 1".

    Official website:
  • Tegan & Kaylen

    Tegan & Kaylen are a young and fresh ‘ukulele and vocal duo that formed in 2015. In February, they won first place in the group division at the 2018 International ‘Ukulele Festival, the girls were named the “Most”le Player” and took home the title of “Gran”ion” along with the KZOO award. Both Tegan Inoue and Kaylen Landry are Hawai’i born girls whose roots are deep in the Aloha Spirit, humble at heart, but passionate about music. Tegan & Kaylen are an excellent duo creating beautiful harmony; their music contains various styles such as pop, island contemporary, ballads and original titles. They will no doubt leave you with a smile on your face and the feeling of pure joy.

    “Ima Kimi Omowu” will be used as the official commercial song for JAL Hawaii. Jun Hasegawa appears in the commercial, and the commercial featuring her and the song that fits Hawaii’s beautiful scenery will be aired from June, 2018.

    Two songs “Ima Kimi Omowu / Perfect Day” have just released on June 5 as debut single.

    Official website:
  • Kamakakēhau Fernandez
    If anyone could be described as having “Hawaiian heart and soul,” it is indeed Ryan Kamakakehau Fernandez. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, this 6 week old African American infant was adopted by Robyn Naeʻole and brought to the shores of Maui, Hawaiʻi. It is here that his new family and home shaped “Kamaka” into one of Hawaiʻi’s newest and most refreshing talents.
    Kamaka’s education played a huge part in his love and appreciation for the Hawaiian culture and music. He is a graduate of the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (Kula Kaiapuni, King Kekaulike High School) and is proud to be a fluent speaker of the Hawaiian language. E Ola KaʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Let the Hawaiian Language live on) is what kamakaKēhauʻs motto is for the language of the land. Kamakakēhau has been featured in the Disney Animation film “MOANA” re made in the hawaiian language, in which Kamakakēhau plays the role of (TAMATOA) The Shiny Crab.
    As he studied – and lived – Hawaiian culture and language, a new-found love emerged from within as he became enamored with the ʻukulele and the art of leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto) singing. He was the 2003 winner of falsetto legend Richard Hoʻopiʻiʻs Falsetto contest, (part of the annual Aloha Festivals celebrations) and from that point on, Kamaka continued to astonish audiences with the range of his voice, the strum of his ʻukulele, and his heart…which is truly Hawaiian. As Kamaka states… “I love my mom, my ‘ohana, my friends and this wonderful culture that I was lucky enough to be immersed in. Hawaiʻi is my heart and soul.”
    He has performed on numerous prestigious stages within the State of Hawaiʻi, including the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s Celebration of the Arts, the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Oahu’s Keiki Hula Festival, the Tahiti Fete, and the Grand Hyatt Kauaʻi, as well as stages in the continental United States and Japan.
    Kamakakehau was one of the featured performers on the 2004 “Aloha Festivals Falsetto Contest Winners – Vol. 5” CD; he was the 2012 winner of 4th Annual Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search; and he worked with multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano (Hawai’i’s version of the Grammys) award-winning producer Dave Tucciarone on his debut solo album “Wahi Mahalo,” for which Kamakakehau won the 2013 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Extended Play – EP!
  • Jody Kamisato

    Jody Kamisato was born on Christmas Day, December 25, 1977, in Honolulu, Hawai`i. Music has been an integral part of Jody’s upbringing. At just seven years of age, Jody’s elementary school teacher gave Jody his first `ukulele lesson. At the age of eight, he began performing with the Honolulu Boy Choir. During the next five years he had the opportunity to travel all over the United States, record on an album, and sing on several national T.V. shows as well as commercials.

    As a member of the “BS Band” with Bruce Shimabukuro and Gary Akiona, they performed throughout Hawai`i and toured Japan on numerous occasions to do live shows and `ukulele workshops. In 2005 Jody’s original song “Ainakoa” was selected for “Aloha Tofu’s” official commercial song. In spring of 2006 the “BS Band” released their first album entitled “Incognito.” Later that year, Jody completed his first DVD entitled “Island Style ‘Ukulele”.

    In June 2007, Jody opened his own `ukulele school called `Ukulele Hale located in Kaimuki. With a talented and dedicated staff, he foresees a bright and successful future and looks forward to a variety of exciting projects with `Ukulele Hale including community service opportunities, public performances and a future Japan tour.

    Official website:
  • Honoka
    Honoka grew up surrounded by the beautiful mountains and ocean of Hawaii, and I have always cherished her gratitude and respect for nature. The thoughts and feelings created by Hawaii’s nature, as well as the memories she has cultivated in nature, are all the inspiration for the music she creates. Through the instrument ‘ukulele, I would like to convey Honoka’s love and passion for music and the wonders of the aloha spirit to people all over the world.
  • Iron Mango

    “Captivating, Relaxing, Inspiring, and I just want to get up and dance” is just some of what audiences describe when they first listen to “Iron Mango”.
    For Iron Mango there is never a dull moment to keep listeners at the edge of their seat as the unique sounds of different genre is performed like never before.
    Individually inspired by the love to perform with other well-known musicians throughout the world has eventually formed this highly anticipated band to blend their style to become a fusion
    of years in the music industry.
    Jon Yamasato has been a part of Hawai’i music industry for over half of his life. Jon’s career began as the lead singer for the award winning trio “Pure Heart” and has performed throughout Hawaii, U.S mainland, Japan and has accumulated multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards.
    Lopaka Colon also with multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards and a co-founding member of the group “Pure Heart” was inspired by his father Augie Colon Sr.(original member of the Exotic sounds of Martin Deny) to take his originality to the next level.
    Richard Gideon is a member of the award winning group “Maunalua” and also a multi-instrumentalist with multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards to his credit.
    Kalei Gamiao a true soloist and youngest of the group has several nominated Na Hoku Hanohano awards and already a world touring musician with no end in sight.

    Iron Mango is:
    Lopaka Colon – percussions, bird calls
    Kalei Gamiao – ‘ukulele
    Jon Yamasato – guitar, vocals
    Richard Gideon – bass, vocals
  • Bryan Tolentino

    Bryan Tolentino is a self-taught ‘ukulele player who began playing the instrument at the tender age of 10. His early influences were the musical groups The Sons of Hawai’i and The Sunday Manoa. After graduating from Saint Louis School in 1979, Bryan and some friends formed a musical group called The Side Order Band. Bryan’s repertoire is a mixture of Hawaiian, contemporary, and original songs, blending creativity and diversity with the ‘ukulele.

    Bryan has performed with the late Aunty Genoa Keawe, Karen Keawehawai’i, Jerry Santos and Olomana, Natalie Ai Kamauu, Napua Greig, Kuana Torres Kahele, Aaron Sala, Weldon Kekauoha, Hoku Zuttermeister and many more. He also found himself in growing demand for his contributions to dozens of recordings. He also released his own solo album “Ka ‘Ukulele Lele” in 2005 and released a duet recording with Herb Ohta, Jr. called “ʻUkulele Friends” in 2015.

  • Bryan Kessler

    Bryan Kessler is a founding member of Hawaiian Style Band in which he composed and performed. Bryan has since gone on to produce and perform 12 instrumental and vocal albums in Japan and Hawaii.. In 2005 contributing a composition on “Slack Key Vol.2” various artists, the collection went on to win Hawaii’s first Grammy award. As an active guitarist he’s played and toured with Na Leo, Jake Shimabukuro, Hawai’i Pops and Lion King,and many other artists from pop to jazz. He’s developed a playing style that both reflects The Hawaiian Islands and the urban sound of his homeland Philadelphia.

  • Sam & Sumo Ninjaz
    A unique Japanese-American mixed band that specializes in fast-paced bluegrass, Hawaiian, and Grateful Dead songs.
    Three years after their formation, they held a Japan LIVE. In Hawaii, he is active in downtown Honolulu and the North Shore.
    ・Sam Hayakawa / Mandolin ‘ukulele & vocals
    ・Justin Murata / Guitar & vocals
    ・Evelyn Greene / Violin & vocals
    ・Nakana Wong / Bass & vocals
    ・Kentaro Sato / Banjo & vocals
  • Benny Chong
    In the field of solo ‘ukulele playing, the number of recording artists who specialize in jazz can be counted on one hand. Bill Tapia and Lyle Ritz are two names that immediately come to mind. Now with this historic CD, Benny Chong’s name can be officially added to that “endangered” list.Benny taught himself to play the ‘ukulele when he was about 11 years old. After nine years or so, he virtually put the ‘ukulele away for some thirty-five years. When I met him in 1964, he was the guitarist with the Ali’is, the band that backed up Don Ho. In 2000, I invited him to be one of the four artists in “The Art of Solo ‘Ukulele”, a concert series that led to a CD and a public TV special. These events revitalized his interest in the ‘ukulele, resulting in his debut album ‘Ukulele Jazz.
  • Byron Yasui
    Byron Yasui taught himself to play the ‘ukulele when he was 13 years old. He played it for recreation from 1953 to 1960, then put it aside when he started college and became a string bassist. In 1998, the ‘Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum invited him to be one of the four ‘ukulele soloists in a four city concert tour on the east coast.
  • Dr. Trey
    Tracey Terada, aka Dr. Trey has made his life’s mission to show the world that the `ukulele is one of the most versatile instruments ever created. His passion for the music and the `ukulele has lead him to becoming a Na Hoku Hanohano award winning producer of Pure Heart (with Jake Shimabukuro). Currently, Dr. Trey has teamed up with Mailani Makainai to create an unstoppable team that brings a fresh and exciting approach to traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music.
  • Kawena Mechler
    Kawena Mechler brings years of experience as a professional hula dancer and production coordinator to Kahiapo Talent. Tony C. (Conjugacion), Weldon Kekauoha, Sean Na‘auao,The Ka‘ala Boys, The Kaimana Band, The Brown Boys and Sam Kapu III, and has danced for many of the top Hawaiian artists including Robert Cazimero, Keale, Brother Noland, Ledward Ka‘apana, 3 Scoops of Aloha, Ocean Kaowili, and many more. She has served as the Production Coordinator for Nalani Productions, and manages the choreography, costuming and scheduling for concerts and performances all over the world. She frequently performs and conducts workshops on major cruise ship lines, and was part of the performance troupe that accompanied the Governor during a visit to China to promote Hawai‘i as a visitor destination. She is a co-composer of mele, contributing her lyrics in the Hawaiian language on songs.

From Japan

  • Kazuyuki Sekiguchi (producer)
    Born in Niigata, Japan in 1955. While attending Aoyama Gakuin University, Kazuyuki joined as a bass player in the group “Southern All Stars”. In 1978, the band debut its original music “Katte ni Sindbad”.
    In 1991, Kazuyuki met ‘Ukulele musician Herb Ohta who had been promoting the art of ‘Ukulele throughout Japan by producing books, video and CD’s. Besides performing, Kazuyuki expresses his creativity through novels, essays, and a series of written columns.
  • Boo Takagi
    Born in Sugamo, Tokyo in 1933. In 1964, He Joined “The Drifters (Japanese Band)” to host one of the legendary and most popular variety shows called “Hachijidayo Zen’inshūgō! (It’s 8 o’clock, Everyone, Gather around!) ” which aired from 1969. As the opening performance of the Beatles’ first concert in 1966 . He has been keeping himself busy in various fields of his many talents, such as album release events and live performances, as well as an instructor for ‘Ukulele lessons on NHK Educational TV.
  • Seiji Katz
    Seiji Katz is one of the top ‘ukulele players in Japan. Seiji’s music transcends the confines of genre and his pop-rock style is like nothing else in the world. Since his first ‘ukulele solo album released in 2010, Seiji has been releasing albums every year. All four releases to date have already been sold-out in less than a year. Rumor says that Seiji’s albums are expected to be sold out almost immediately! Seiji’s 4th album “J” (released in November, 2013) was nominated as one of the finalists for the 37th Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards 2014 in the category of “International Album Recognition Award.” In 2014, Seiji’s original song “Minami no Shima no Coconut” was aired in Japan’s high-rated, longest-running music show on NHK “Minnano Uta.” Seiji released his 5th album “KATZ sings HULA vol.1” in November, 2015. Seiji also publishes a number of scorebooks, instructional books, DVDs and his collection of re-arranged musical pieces are extremely popular. Some of these products are published internationally and available overseas. Seiji has also been actively performing abroad at live gigs and festivals outside Japan. He is also best known as “Yon-sama of the ‘ukulele scene” (a pun of a popular Korean celebrity Bae Yong Joon’s nickname `Yon-sama’). Seiji’s true identity has been known as the costume-clad ‘ukulele performer “Ukulele Elvis.”
    Official website:
  • Keiko
    In 2003, she discovered the ‘ukulele and began her career as singer-songwriter AO AQUA. After that, she became fascinated with the world of Hawai’i and began to work as a full-fledged Hawaiian singer. She released the Hawaiian mini album “Hali`a” in 2012. She participated in the CD “Na Mele Aloha Hula” in 2013 and experienced her first Hawaiian recording. Since 2014, she has changed her Hawaiian singer name to Keiko. The album “Kupulau” released in 2015 was nominated for the 2016 Na Hoku Hanohano Award, Hawaii’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards, in the Best International Album category.
    She is active both domestically and internationally, performing at hula competitions in Hawaii, and serving as an entertainer on luxury cruise ships touring Tahiti and Hawaii.
    She is also popular as a ‘ukulele instructor, and her activities include supervising and appearing in the iPhone app “First Hawaiian ‘Ukulele.” Official website:
  • Lina Lina
    Lina Lina, aka the ‘ukulele mermaid, is a singer-songwriter who plays the ‘ukulele, and who loves grapes.
    She took her first piano lesson at age four and an ‘ukulele she found at home launched her career as a musician. After spending some time in New York and Los Angeles, she released her debut album”getta” in 2002, followed by “LinaLina”, “Enjoy!” and “Ukulele Lesson LeLeLe”.
    Lina Lina , Her ‘ukulele instructional book, “Ukulele Songs You Can Play with Only Five Chords”
    (published by Rittor Music) is a bestseller. Venues for her ‘ukulele performances include cafes, live houses,
    beachside and mountain music festivals. She also plays at hospitals and organizes live shows for children as well as ‘ukulele workshops. Her music casts a magical spell on her audience as she performs in various ways.
    Performances in Hawai’i in May 2014 were a huge success. She performed nationwide during summer 2015 Don’s bar stage of Fuji Rock Festival and her long-waited new album, “HOME”, including
    “MAINICHI GA ASHITA -Everyday belong to the future!- ” released 2015 fall.
    She will perform at ‘Ukulele Picnic in Hawai’i 2014-2016. and Thailand ‘Ukulele Festival 2016. And also She is on tour named “HOME Made Tour 2016” from June 2016 to 2017.
    The ‘ukulele mermaid always delivers peaceful and heartwarming vibrations (sounds).
    Official website:
  • Tomotaka Matsui
    Tomotaka has been a performer, composer & arranger, after studying guitar techniques from Mr. Junji Ariyama. When you hear his band, “Sweet Hollywaiian (currently inactive)” or “Sweet Strings ‘Ukulele Orchestra”, you are sure to be mesmerized by its uniquely collaborated sound of Hawaiian steal guitar, ‘ukulele, tenor banjo, guitar all together, with a hint of early 1900’s style of music such as swing, jazz, blues, Hawaiian, or even rag-time. A graduate from Osaka University of Arts, Tomotaka travels to attend various music events around the world or tours with his band internationally, while residing in Naha, Okinawa from April in 2012.
    Official website:
  • EbAk
    Official website:
  • Izumi Wakana
    Official website:
  • JazzoomCafe

    “JazzoomCafe” is known as Japan’s established technical ‘ukulele player.
    His finger tricks and “speed playing” techniques are beyond comparison.
    He was the MVP winner at the International ‘Ukulele Contest 2011
    held in Hawaii(Oahu) and was featured on local publications in Hawaii.
    JazzoomCafe also appeared in Hawaii,Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, NewYork, HONGKONG, Shanghai, Mariana ‘ukulele festivals.

    JazzoomCafe has also released an iPhone & Android application “JazzoomCafe’s Hi-tech ‘Ukulele.”
    He also joined CompilationCD of Walt Disney Records!

    and He is the main-Personality of FM-radio(JAPAN) for ‘Ukulele”JazzoomCafe and Haruka’s Happy-Ukulele-Time!”.

    JazzoomCafe is also grateful teacher of ‘ukulele.
    He established the ‘Ukulele School of Japan(TOKYO/YOKOHAMA/NAGANO).

    He appear the MusicShow of NAMM SHOW 2019 in LosAngels/Anaheim,
    Shanghai Music InstFest,and Tokyo Music Instruments Fest.
    His new Album is “Seilen Coffee”.Now on Sale!

    Official HP:
    iPhone & Android application: “JazzoomCafe’s Hi-tech ‘Ukulele”