Artist Profiles: Keali’i Reichel

Keali’i Reichel

Born and raised on Maui, Hawaii, Reichel spent weekends and summers at his grandmother’s house where he learned about the native songs music language and culture of Hawaii.

Reichel later founded his own halau hula (hula school) called Halau Hula o ka Makani Wili Makaha o Kaua’ula. With his knowledge of traditional Hawaiian music and songs Reichel embarked on a career in music with his debut recording Kawaipunahele (the favorite waters) in 1994. The album sold more copies than any Hawaiian music release in history and received five 1995 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaii’s version of the Grammys).

The enormous popularity of his later releases Lei Hali’a (lei of fond memories) E O Mai (to acknowledge respond) and Melelana (lullaby) confirmed his reputation as one of Hawaii’s favorite artists.

Over the years Reichel has shared the beauty of Hawaiian music with audiences around the world performing at venues throughout Japan Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl and opening for artists such as Bonnie Raitt Sting and Celine Dion.

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) presented Keali’i with gold record status for Kawaipunahele. This is the first gold record for a predominately Hawaiian-language album.

Keali’i retains his initial goal of presenting new compositions in the Hawaiian language for hula students and works to dispel long-held stereotypes of Hawaii’s living culture and her indigenous people.


Kawaipunahele (Punahele Productions, 1994)
Lei Haliʻa (Punahele Productions, 1995)
ʻE O Mai (Punahele Productions, 1997)
Melelana (Punahele Productions, 1999)
Keʻalaokamaile (Punahele Productions, 2003)
Kawaiokalena (Punahele Productions, 2014)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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