Irvine Barclay Theatre

Kuana Torres Kahele Brings his Love of Hawaiian Music to the Barclay

Kuana Torres Kahele sings the soulful melodies of the Hawaiian Islands.


Kuana Torres Kahele

Friday, January 11, 2019 at 8pm

Tickets: $36, $46, $100


Irvine Barclay Theatre - 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA | 949.854.4646

Kuana Torres Kahele is an innovator and trendsetter who expands the boundaries of Hawaiian music with his rich vocals and enduring lyrics. In 2011, he stepped out as a solo performer after over 15 years with the legendary Hawaiian super-group Palapalai. Kuana’s debut release, Kaunaloa, went on to sweep every major award that year. 

Recognized and praised as one of the leading living Hawaiian composers, he writes from his own experiences and weaves poetic imagery throughout his captivating melodies.


Kuana Torres Kahele, Guitar| Glenn Mayeda, Lead Guitar| Ioane Burns, Bass


Special Guests: Hālau Hula Meakanu 'O Laka 'O Hawai'i and Hālau 'O Kahealani


View on YouTube: Kuana Torres Kahele Waipi’o Paeaea


Part of the Hawaiian Music Masters Series





Born in Hilo, Hawai'i, Kuana Torres Kahele is a composer, performer and cultural practitioner with 25 years of professional experience in hula and Hawaiian music.


Kuana’s hula roots begin with Kumu Johnny Lum Ho of Hālau Ka Ua Kani Lehua and continue today with several of his own hula and Hawaiian cultural schools abroad. With the meteoric success of his band, Nā Palapalai, Kuana with his band members Keao Costa and Kehau Tamure helped revitalize traditional Hawaiian music, giving it a larger mainstream audience. Newly imagined and freshly arranged versions of Hawaiian classics expanded the group’s popularity with radio listeners and kumu hula alike.


Known for his original compositions for hula, Kuana undertook an unprecedented four-year songwriting project: writing an album of new, original music for each of the Hawaiian Islands. The first album in the series, Music for the Hawaiian Islands Vol. 1: Hawai'i Keawe, honored his birthplace. Subsequent volumes in the series, Kahelelani Niihau; Pi'ilani Maui; Manookalanipo Kaua`i:  Lana'ika'ula, Lana'i: and Aina Momona, Molokai have debuted at the top of Billboard’s world music chart. With over 100 new songs written and recorded for Hawai'i, this is a historic achievement in both Hawaiian music and American songwriting. The final installment, Vol. 7: O’ahu was released in the summer of 2018.


Kuana gained worldwide notoriety in June 2015, starring as both the narrator and the male lead, Uku, a lovesick volcano in Disney-Pixar’s hit movie, Lava. Kuana’s theme song from Lava debuted at #1 on Billboard’s soundtrack chart and remained there for several months.


A perpetual teacher and performer, Kuana is taking Hawaiian music and Hawaiian culture workshops to the far reaches of the globe. His hope is to introduce others to the beauty and diversity of Hawai'i and its people through music, hula and lei making.


About Irvine Barclay Theatre

Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 750-seat "jewel box" theatre which is renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Visit to learn about our exciting new season!