Guitar, Voice, Aloha
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 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.
“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.”
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.