ABOUT THE ARTIST

  • Singer/composer/musician: Pueo’s talents as a singer and musician first came to public attention when he won the statewide Frank B. Shaner Falsetto Singing Contest in 1999.  Those talents have been honed and refined in the intervening years as he performed in hula and cultural events throughout the islands, continental U.S., and Japan.  A panel of language experts and fellow composers have acknowledged his skills as haku mele (composer) in naming Pueo a finalist in the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano haku mele category a total of four times before he won the award in 2007 for Mili'opua from his He Aloha... album. Pueo is widely recongized as a gifted composer and he has taught the art of haku mele to students at Kamehameha Schools, Maui campus.

  • Popular entertainer and recording artist: Pueo commands the stage wherever he performs, with an eager smile and deft ability to connect with the audience.  He charms keiki to kupuna with his rapid switch from deep meaning to charming banter.  E Ho`i Na Wai continues to do well, and local radio stations still play and field requests for it, especially for his version of Holei.  Several contributions to compilation recordings over the past few years have kept his fans anxious for a follow-up solo project.  It was with much pride and anticipation that Ululoa Productions released that CD, He Aloha . . ., on February 27, 2007.

  • Kumu hula/chanter: In 2003, Pueo inherited the halau in which he was trained by Nona Mahilani Kaluhiokalani, a graduate of the `Ilala`ole hula lineage through master G. Lanakilakeikiahialii Naope.  Renamed to honor her, Halau Hula Ka Malama Mahilani provides Pueo the opportunity to stay true to the culture and traditions as they were shared with him while interpreting and choreographing mele and training dancers.  The result has won praise at competitions and performances.  Pueo’s oli (chanting) not only supports the halau’s training and performances but also is requested at chant festivals and prestigious events such as the Maui Film Festival’s opening festivities.  A CD of chants is an anticipated future project.

  • Traditionalist/spiritualist: Pueo is the product of Native American and Hawaiian cultures, chosen and trained by many masters.  As a member of Northern California’s Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, he is the tribe’s linguistic compiler and the holder of many of its songs and ceremonies.  As a member of the Hawaiian community, he has learned the language, chants, dances, and many of the crafts to a remarkable degree.  His diverse cultural background gives depth and significance to his performances.  Although Pueo is considered a contemporary artist, he would say that his first duty, above all else, is to honor tradition.  A spiritual being, Pueo believes it is the responsibility of humankind to maintain a balance between the spiritual and physical worlds.  He believes the spiritual affects the physical:  “I always let spirit move me; it’s never led me astray.”

Back