Sunday, April 7, 2019
Ku’uipo is the 5th generation living on Hawaiian land granted by the royal patent of Kamehameha III. Her father was a manaleo (native Hawaiian speaker). From childhood, Kuuipo was exposed to a fusion of Hawaiian and contemporary life. Inspired by family parties, and the music of The Halekulani Girls, Marlene Sai, Genoa Keawe and Haunani Kahalewai, Ku’uipo decided to sing and play Hawaiian music. She taught herself to play the ‘ukulele at the age of 8, then the guitar and bass, and the Hawaiian slack-key style of guitar playing. Formal music training occurred later when she privately studied voice lessons. Her musical education also continued in college. Ku’uipo is now considered one of Hawai’i’s finest slack-key players.
Ku’uipo’s first effort as a musical artist earned her a single nomination in the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (the “Grammy’s” of Hawaiian music) and named her the most promising new artist. Her solo premiere recording gave her 9 nominations and an astounding five awards which included the Female Vocalist of the Year and Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year. Her second album, after a four-year rest, earned her 3 nominations and an award for the excellence use of the Hawaiian language in a musical composition. In 1999, the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts nominated Ku’uipo as Female Vocalist of the Year. That year, Ku’uipo obtained the Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year by the Hawaii Music Awards.
In 2008 Ku’uipo’s album, Na Lani ‘Eha with the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders, garnered the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Album of the Year and graphics award. 2010 would also bring Ku’uipo another Hoku, this one for Island Music Album for her latest CD, E Hula Mai Me A’u.
In 1995, Ku’uipo decided to pursue her college degree. With the completion of music minor credits, Hawaiian language credits and education credits, Ku’uipo received her Associates of Arts degree from Kapi‘olani Community College and her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Chaminade University. She intends to continue her studies in pursuit of a Master’s Degree.
Ku’uipo has premiered in notable concerts and special events across the state, the nation and abroad. Ku’uipo has appeared in special performances such as: the Aloha Festivals; the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival; the Mokihana Festival and the Waiki’i Music Festival. Other prestigious concerts include the Na Wahine O Hawai’i Concert featuring select female artists, the Bank of Hawai’i Ki Ho’alu (slack key) Concert featuring select slack key players, the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Concert, and the Honolulu Festival.
Ku’uipo has been featured at the finest hotels and show places in the State of Hawai’i and has premiered in quality concerts and special events across the state, the nation and abroad. Among her credits are regular appearances on Fridays at The Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki. Other performances have taken Ku’uipo to the private homes of some of Hawai’i’s high profile socialites, businessmen and women as well as Washington Place, the home Hawai’i’s governor and ‘Iolani Palace.
Aside from performing Hawaiian music, Ku’uipo works with persons with mental illness as well as persons with mental retardation, managing the Diamond Head Center for the Association for Retarded Citizens of Hawai’i.
As an entrepreneur, Ku’uipo, along with two business partners, created a new Hawaiian Heritage and Culture learning center. In addition, she has created her own recording label and production and performance company.
She is a hula student of Kumu Hula Karen Ka’ohulani Aiu, in ho’opa’a training (chant and drumming to accompany dancers). This delights Kuuipo because it is the ancient form of what she already does as a musician and singer.
Besides being a student and performer of Hawaiian music, Ku’uipo has been chosen to do lectures for select groups of administrators of the Department of Education focusing on the values of a Hawaiian family. She has also been chosen to be a special guest lecturer for the Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estates post-high scholarship recipients for the state of Hawaii focusing on the value of Ho’omakaukau (to be prepared).
Ku’uipo currently serves as the president of the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts and is the director of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders. She is a co-founder of the Maiki Aiu Foundation, a teacher in Hālau Hawai’i, and is a record producer for the label Ke’aloha, Ululani Records & Ululani Media, and produces the biennial Mali’o Concerts. She has judged various music competitions, including as the overall judge for the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest. Fluent in Hawaiian, she narrated the Hawaiian language version of Hawai’i Public Television`s noted Biography Series documentary on Princess Ruth Ke’elikolani.