"In Hawaiʻi, Kealoha must be the rock star of performance poets. I was waiting in the wings to go on at a recital, watching him performing in front of Hawaiian schoolkids. They cheered and yelled! 'Gee, thanks Kealoha,' I thought to myself as I walked on after him. At that moment I decided I wanted to be like him when I grow up." --Witi Ihimaera, Professor of English, Distinguished Companion in the New Zealand Order of Merit (equivalent to a knighthood in the old honours system), and author of The Whale Rider.
The Various Ways To Work With Kealoha
Kealoha has been booked to perform at concerts, festivals, corporate events, conferences, keynote addresses, weddings, speaker series, rallies, anti-violence shows, HIV awareness days, art openings, motivational seminars, cultural events, award ceremonies, and fundraisers. His performances combine poetry, storytelling, movement, music, theater, and interactive speaking. He currently has two full-length shows: "The Story of Everything" or his more conventional "Kealoha Poetry" experience. Each show has an approximate run time of 90 minutes plus an intermission. He is also frequently hired for shorter performances (sometimes for just a poem or two) depending on his clients' needs. He is a seasoned performer who has toured throughout the world, playing to packed houses in cities such as Zürich, Amsterdam, São Paulo, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco. He has also made numerous television and radio show appearances, and has performed in hundreds of live venues throughout Hawaiʻi including the ʻIolani Palace, Aloha Stadium, Waikīkī Shell, Neal Blaisdell Arena, Hawaiʻi Theatre, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Studio1, Kumu Kahua Theatre, Hawaiian Hut, Pipeline Café, and the Hawaiʻi Convention Center.
Kealoha brings a great wealth of energy and comfort on stage as an emcee. When appropriate, he is also able to fill in dead time with his poems, making sure that the audience is always engaged. Behind the scenes, he is extremely detail oriented, and helps to keep the flow of his events smooth. He primarily emcees concerts, festivals, and conferences.
Corporate Clients Kealoha has been hired by corporations to perform for events, create commissioned poems, conduct workshops, and speak on cultural and environmental issues. Some of his clients have included Microsoft, Salesforce, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Github, and Amway.
Kealoha conducts both large-scale assemblies and personalized classroom workshops for Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, and Universities throughout the country. His touring series, called "Stylistic Elements," exposes students to performance poetry, gives them a hands-on writing experience, and inspires them to find their own poetic voice. The content and language level (automatically censored for High School and below) of Stylistic Elements is tailored from class to class in order to match the age group and learning needs of the students. Furthermore, each of Kealoha's workshops fulfill an average of 6-7 of the Hawaiʻi Content and Performance Standards in the Language Arts (written & oral), Fine Arts (drama and theatre), and Career Planning areas. In addition to poetry, his assemblies and classroom workshops have also been used to address specific topics such as anti-violence awareness, career options, the importance of reading/literacy, motivation, leadership, college prep, theater, anti-tobacco messages, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics). Because he is both Native Hawaiian and born & raised in Hawaiʻi, Kealoha has extreme sensitivity towards local issues and builds rapport with students as soon as he enters the room.
Stylistic Elements has inspired thousands of students and teachers in over 300 distinct schools, libraries, prisons, and community centers since 2002. In 2010, Kealoha was selected as a master artist for the National Endowment for the Arts: Hawaiʻi Arts at Work Program. Furthermore, Kealoha has also taught a Master's Workshop at the Bamboo Ridge Writer's Institute, has done professional development with teachers at educational seminars, has conducted workshops at the International Youth Poetry Slam Festival (Brave New Voices), and has taught both male and female inmates in Hawaiʻi's prisons. Kealoha has been on the Artistic Teaching Partners (Artists in the Schools) roster since 2005, and has completed multi-week residencies at Kahuku High School, Waiau Elementary, Molokaʻi High School, Kauaʻi High School, Mākaha Elementary, Waimea Middle School (Hawaiʻi Island), Kamaile Academy, Waiʻanae Elementary, Nānākuli Elementary, Kaimukī Middle School, Lehua Elementary, and Salt Lake Elementary. He was also commissioned to design and teach a full summer school course in Performing Arts at Punahou High School.
The Hawaiʻi Slam Poets
Kealoha is the coach and a member of the Hawaiʻi Slam Poets, a group of Hawaiʻi's best performance poets. Their team pieces (more than one person delivering the poem) have been featured on the National Poetry Slam's Finals stage for three years, and in 2015 they placed 2nd in the nation out of 70 teams. Their performance poetry shows have been typically used for special events, school assemblies, concerts, and festivals.
Music Shows & Performing Arts Concerts
Kealoha tours with some of Hawaiʻi's best musicians & performers as a poetic vocalist. He currently has various full-length concert shows with artists such as Henry Kapono ("The Wild Hawaiian" - classic rock with a Hawaiian language foundation), Hapa (contemporary Hawaiian music), Makana (progressive slack key and rock), Taimane Gardner (ʻukulele virtuoso), Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole (Hawaiian roots and music), Hawaiian Ryan (comedy, poetry, and improv music), Kathy "Tita" Collins (storytelling & poetry), and Communication (acoustic soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, poetry). These performance groups give the audience a full-blast experience and have typically been used for music festivals, concerts, fundraisers, and theatre engagements.
Need a poem, spoken word piece, or piece of prose that says something very specific? Kealoha is up for the task. As an artist, he immerses himself into his clients' assignments with passion. He can work on very tight time lines, and is professional with his communication during the process. For television shows or promos, Kealoha has been commissioned by clients such as the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards Show (Hawaiʻi's Grammys), the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, the State of Hawaiʻi's Department Of Health, the City and County of Honolulu, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Child and Family Services Hawaiʻi, the Nā Hōkū O Hawai`i Music Festival, the Kōkua for Katrina Benefit Concert, the Kōkua for the Pacific Benefit Concert, and the Kōkua for Japan Benefit Concert. In the music industry, he has been commissioned by Hapa, Henry Kapono, Makana, and Taimane Gardner. He was also commissioned to write the inauguration poem for the Governor of Hawaiʻi in 2011 and the commencement keynote speech for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2022.
If you are interested in using Kealoha or his associates for your event, please send an email to info@KealohaPoetry.com or call (808) 387-9664 for more information. If you have a different use for Kealoha that is not listed in any of the above categories, don't be shy. Kealoha is a quick study and can usually accomodate any of your needs. He is also honest about his limitations, and will let you know if he is uncomfortable with performing certain functions. When you inquire, please provide any details that you have including date, time, estimated audience size, and budget for the performance/service.
Finally, if you are interested in helping Kealoha to grow the slam poetry movement, you can make a tax-deductible donation to Hawaiʻi Slam, an official 501(c)(3) non-profit through Poetry Slam Inc. Contact us and we will walk you through the very simple process.