Review: Kainani Kahaunaele’s Waipunalei


Kainani Kahaunaele
Indie Release CD/DL/LP

Kainani Kahaunaele’s third solo album, Waipunalei, is a lovely, gentle, and relaxing masterpiece featuring traditional Hawaiian sounds, contemporary, jazz, and R&B. A talented musician, Kahaunaele also teaches Hawaiian at UH Hilo and is an advocate for the Hawaiian language. “Hawaiian language and music is my day and night job,” said Kahaunaele.

On the album, captivating vocals merge with the piano while also showcasing guitar, ukulele, and bass accompaniment from over 20 of Hawaii’s finest musicians, featuring artists like Zachary Lum, Nathan Grace, and Kamakoa Lindsey, to create 10 calming tracks. The namesake track of the album, “Waipunalei,” is a smooth and emotional song. Another example is “Ohaoha Kou Lei Pua I Ka Hikina,” another light piece. When one hears the rhythm of the music it makes one want to dance.

Kahaunaele helps the community by bringing music to the people of Hawai’i. “I teach music and encourage others to listen to Hawaiian music and appreciate it,” said Kahaunaele. “So, I am all about music. I am firstly a community member. And music is necessary at every event. There is nothing like enhancing an event with live music! Can you imagine going to a wedding or graduation with no live music? Nobody is going to hang around!”

Overall, Waipunalei is a slice of serenity. It is a masterpiece from a group of expert musicians who have put in their best effort to help Kahaunaele give birth to her biggest accomplishment to date.

About the author
Logan Kamakele-Cordeiro is a 9th-grade student at Wai’anae High School with an interest in music and writing. This is his first album review.

Waipunalei will be available on vinyl in January 2021. Connect with Kainani Kahaunaele via her Facebook music page.


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