From the Garden Isle of Kauai, Maui Matsuri welcomes musician and singer Keola Worthington. Known primarily as a Hawaiian entertainer, Keola graces the Maui Matsuri stage in honor of his Japanese ancestors. His 3rd great grandfather, Takezo Iida, was a part of the Gannenmono – the first Japanese contract immigrants to come to Hawaii – and fathered the first baby of Japanese parentage in the Kingdom of Hawaii. His majesty King Kalakaua and Her Royal Highness, Princess Lydia Liliuokalani, acted as godfather and godmother at the child’s christening.
Keola’s first trip to Japan in the mid-nineties was at the invitation of Kaleinani Hirakawa, Japan’s first kumu hula. Since then, he has been to Japan numerous times and, along with Kawika Defries, will perform Japanese favorites with a distinctly Hawaiian flavor for us at Maui Matsuri. Keola regularly performs at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and the Poipu Shopping Village, and he continues to travel abroad to promote the Hawaiian Islands.(Back)
Kyle Chew, an active performer around Hawaii, joins Maui Matsuri on stage performing on shakuhachi and shinobue – two kinds of Japanese flutes. Under the guidance of Grand Master Riley Lee, Kyle primarily focuses his studies on the traditional shakuhachi music known as Honkyoku. He has performed at numerous events through Maui, Kauai, and Oahu, including regularly here for us at Maui Matsuri. Kyle’s passion for his art has been demonstrated through helping organize the 2014 Kauai Shakuhachi Festival, and he additionally enjoys practicing shodo, Japanese calligraphy.(Back)