traditional
Hawaiian Music

traditional
Hawaiian Music



Guitar, Voice, Aloha

Pili’s sound check, Southern Oregon University Lū‘au 2007

Traditional Hawaiian music is more than entertainment; it is an expression of love for the land, for all the special places known to countless generations of Hawaiians, and the special people that we've shared those places with. Hawaiian music comes from the heart, from the gut, from the land that nurtures us and the heavens that watch over us. It is timeless poetry that speaks of swirling winds and cooling rains, mist-covered mountains and calm seas; of gods and chiefs, friends and sweethearts, of history, legend, and hope. And hula takes all that and translates it into the shape and flow of dance.

Pili received his first ‘ukulele at the age of five, started playing guitar when he was thirteen, and has had his head and heart full of music ever since. The songs of Hawai‘i are truly his mele aloha (beloved songs).

Pili is skilled in traditional Hawaiian music, including slack key guitar (kī hō‘alu) and vocals, and has performed solo, with Hawaiian bands, and with a number of award-winning hula troupes at concerts, hula competitions, festivals, and Hawaiian gatherings of all sorts on the West Coast and in Hawai‘i. He has worked with hālau hula such as The Ladies of Moani Ke ‘Ala O Ka Mailelauli‘i and The Men of Ka Iho Makawalu A Ka Ua Kipu‘upu‘u (Kumu Hula Clark Kahekemālamalamaika‘āina Bolivar, Jr.), Hālau Hula Nā Pua O Ka La‘akea (Kumu Hula Shawna Kealameleku‘uleialoha Alapa‘i), Ka Ua Tuahine Polynesian Dance Company (Kumu Hula Māhealani Uchiyama), Hula O Kahawai (Artistic Director Barbara Chung), and Hālau Hula Nā Pua O Hawai‘i Nei (Kumu Hula Pekelo Day). Pili has also served as cultural advisor to Nā Leo Nahenahe, the Hawaiian chorus of San Francisco.

Pili playing Emerald X20 guitar under the trees at Kapahukapu (Manini Beach Park)

He has been privileged to accompany Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning vocalists Uluwehi Guerrero and Darlene Ahuna in concert.

Pili approaches Hawaiian music with the same dedication, focus, and respect that he brings to his work as a healer and teacher.

Pili performs with a beautiful cobalt-blue Emerald X20 carbon fiber guitar custom-built for him by Alistair Hay and Emerald Guitars of County Donegal, Ireland. Emerald have featured Pili in a profile on their Web site.




Pili and Akiko

onstage at Eugene Aloha Friday

Darlene Ahuna and Pili

onstage with Darlene Ahuna at the Umpqua Hula and the Arts Festival

Pili with Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero, Steve Yungen, and Kumu Pekelo Day

onstage with Kumu Pekelo Day and Steve Yungen at the George Na‘ope Hula Festival

Pili and Akiko

onstage with Akiko Colton at Eugene Aloha Friday

Pili with Kumu Pekelo Day and his hālau at the George Na‘ope Hula Festival

with Kumu Pekelo Day and and his hālau at the George Na‘ope Hula Festival

Pili with Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero, Steve Yungen, and Kumu Pekelo Day

onstage with Kumu Pekelo Day at the George Na‘ope Hula Festival

Pili with Kumu Pekelo Day and the back of judge Mark Keali‘i Ho‘omalu's head

onstage at the George Na‘ope Hula Festival with the back of judge Mark Keali‘i Ho‘omalu's head

Pili with Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero, Steve Yungen, and Kumu Pekelo Day

warming up for Hi‘ikua, Eugene, Oregon

Kumu Hula Uluwehi Guerrero & Pili

onstage at The Barn, Jacksonville, Oregon

Kumu Hula Uluwehi Guerrero & Pili

onstage with Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero and Steve Yungen

Pili with Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero, Steve Yungen, and Kumu Pekelo Day

with Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero, Steve Yungen, and Kumu Pekelo Day

Pili with Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero, Steve Yungen, and Kumu Pekelo Day

kanikapila with Ka‘amea

Pili singing and playing ‘ukulele
Pili with Pūlama at Le Bateau Ivre

with Pūlama at Le Bateau Ivre, Berkeley

Pili playing guitar in recording studio
Pili with Nā Pua o Hawai‘i Nei

playing for members of Kumu Pekelo Day’s Hālau Hula O Nā Pua O Hawai‘i Nei at the Umpqua Hula and the Arts Festival

“Traditional Hawaiian music expresses a love for the land, for beauty, for family and companions, for Spirit, that is deeply soulful and healing. Whether I’m singing and playing guitar for a flock of hula dancers at a festival, or softly chanting an ancient prayer as part of a healing, aloha is always at the heart of the experience.”


petroglyph spiral

Visit Pili's Hawaiian Cultural Resources page for reviews of great traditional Hawaiian music, as well as books and films on Hawaiian culture, online resources, and more.


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