Local Wire

Keali'i Reichel

As one of the most prominent promoters of Hawaiian culture today, Keali'i Reichel (pronounced Key-ah-li-ee Ray-shell) takes an educational approach during his live concerts. "It's a good mixture of hula, storytelling and music," he says during a phone interview from his native Maui. Though he sings mostly in Hawaiian, he does pause between songs to explain what they are about. "I find that for the live performance, I treat the audience like a classroom," he explains. "I think our culture is our language, and that's where we come from." Though Reichel sings mostly in Hawaiian, he does a few tunes in English, such as a cover of Sting's "Fields of Gold," which was included on his 2003 disc Ke'Alaokamaile (Punahele). With him are several hula dancers who perform dances choreographed by the singer, who has also found the time to open and run his own dance school in Maui. "Fans come because they appreciate the culture, but there are some who come out of curiosity," he states. No matter what the reason may be, everyone leaves with a new appreciation for the word "aloha."
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Ernest Barteldes