KAMALEI KAWAʻA of Nā Wai ʻEhā
singer, songwriter, musician, hula dancer
Kamalei Kawa`a is a member of the Hawaiian music group Nā Wai `Ehā. He was Born and raised in Waiehu, Maui, to Lewellyn and Luana Kawaʻa. He attended Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Maui through his formative years and graduated from Baldwin High School in 2014. Kamalei is fluent in the Hawaiian Language.
Kamalei is also an accomplished hula dancer with Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of Nā Kumu Hula ‘Iliahi and Haunani Paredes. He has been with the hālau for 14 years.
Like hula, Kamalei fell in love with Hawaiian music at a young age. He started playing ʻukulele at the age of 4 and has been singing and playing Hawaiian music ever since. In 2015, he entered the Richard Hoʻopiʻi Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Competition. He was awarded first place that year.
When asked about his musical inspirations, Kamalei had this to say, “My biggest influence has to be my Mother, Kumu Hula Luana Kawaʻa. Growing up with a Kumu Hula as a mother and because Hawaiian music and Hula go hand in hand, she made sure that she instilled the love for Hawaiian music and Hula in me and my siblings. An inspiration that I look up to in my life is Uncle Richard Hoʻopiʻi. Growing up and hearing his music always brought joy to my heart. Being from Maui and always honoring his home everywhere he went inspires me to be just like him! Having this group now, and carrying on the traditions of Hawaiian Music, it is my hope and prayer that we, as Nā Wai ʻEhā Music inspire the next generation to do the same.”