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Kealoha - Poet and Storyteller Location / Contact:

Phone: (808) 387-9664

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Kealoha is an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller. He is the first poet in Hawai`i's history to perform at a governor's inauguration, and in 2010 he was selected as a master artist for a National Endowment for the Arts program. In the 7 years that he has represented Hawai`i at the National Poetry Slam, he has performed on the finals stage 4 times, was ranked in the top ten of the nations best poets in 2007, and was honored as a "National Slam Legend" in 2010. He is the founder of HawaiiSlam, Youth Speaks Hawai`i (2-Time International Champions), and First Thursdays (the largest registered slam poetry competition in the world with an average attendance of 600+).

Learn how to book Kealoha

Kealoha has served as Hawai`i's SlamMaster since 2003, and has been on the Artists in the Schools roster since 2005. He has featured at hundreds of live venues throughout the world including the Nuyorican poets cafe (New York City), the Bowery Poetry Club (New York City), the Green Mill (Chicago), the Schiffbau (Zurich, Switzerland), the Rokerij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the Bienal do Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show. In the genre of storytelling, he has gained national recognition by showcasing at high profile events such as the National Storytelling Network Conference, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, and the Honolulu Storytelling Festival.

"National Slam Legend" --Honored at the 2010 National Poetry Slam
"The first poet to perform at a Hawai`i governor's inauguration." --KITV4 News
"The state's unofficial slam poet laureate." --Kawehi Haug, Honolulu Advertiser

Kealoha was featured on HBO's Brave New Voices series presented by Russel Simmons, and he is the poetic vocalist for Henry Kapono's "Wild Hawaiian Experience" (nominated for a Grammy). In the literature world, his poetry has been published by Bamboo Ridge, Real Word Magazine, and Auckland University Press. His poetry performances have also been recorded on albums such as Hapa's "Maui" (winner of 4 Na Hoku Hanohano awards and the Hawai`i Music Award for "Album of the Year"), the Mana Maoli compilation (featuring Jack Johnson and John Cruz), and a full-length spoken word CD entitled Kealoha. He has performed 4 times on the "World's Greatest Poetry Slam" DVD series (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008), was featured in the film "Get a Job" starring Willie K and Eric Gilliom, and starred in the movie "Hawai`i Slam: Poetry in Paradise." Kealoha has made dozens of television appearances, including two performances for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, PBS's Long Story Short (with Leslie Wilcox), and the State of Hawai`i's "Can't Fool the Youth" anti-smoking campaign that he wrote, performed, and co-directed.

Kealoha has shared the stage with Kenny Loggins (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Jack Johnson (Multi-Platinum Recording Artist), Ben Harper (Multiple Grammy Winner), Willie Nelson (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Damian "Junior Gong" Marley (Multiple Grammy Winner), Jason Mraz (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Michael Franti (Spearhead), Don Carlos (Reggae Legend), Konishiki (Champion Sumo Wrestler), Medusa (Grammy Winner), and countless numbers of slam poetry superstars. He has also collaborated with artists such as Henry Kapono (Grammy Nominee), Hapa (Multiple Na Hoku winners), Makana (Slack Key Virtuoso), Willie K (Grammy Nominee), Mick Fleetwood (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), and Jason Scott Lee (Actor). Finally, he has conducted workshops at over 200 distinct schools, libraries, prisons, and community centers throughout his career (including a Master's Workshop at the Bamboo Ridge Writer's Institute) alongside writing leaders such as Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior), and Witi Ihimaera (The Whale Rider).

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The Various Ways To Work With Kealoha


Kealoha has been booked to perform at concerts, festivals, corporate events, conferences, weddings, speaker series, rallies, anti-violence shows, HIV awareness days, art openings, keynote addresses, motivational seminars, cultural events, award ceremonies, and fundraisers. His performances combine poetry, storytelling, movement, theater, and interactive speaking. The length of his performances range from 1 minute blasts to full hour-and-a-half shows, depending on his clients' needs. He is a seasoned performer who has toured throughout the world, playing to packed houses in cities such as Zurich, Amsterdam, Sao 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 Hawai`i including the `Iolani Palace, Aloha Stadium, Waikiki Shell, Neal Blaisdell Arena, Hawai`i Theatre, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Studio1, Kumu Kahua Theatre, Hawaiian Hut, Pipeline Cafe, and the Hawai`i Convention Center.

Emcee Duties
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.

School Visits
Kealoha conducts both large-scale assemblies and intimate 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 Hawai`i 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, and anti-tobacco messages. Because he is both Native Hawaiian and born & raised in Hawai`i, 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 200 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: Hawai`i 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 Hawaii'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, Molokai High School, Kaua`i High School, Makaha Elementary, Waimea Middle School (Big Island), Kamaile Academy, Wai`anae Elementary, Nanakuli 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 HawaiiSlam Poets
Kealoha is the coach and a member of the HawaiiSlam Poets, a group of Hawaii'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 2009 they placed 5th in the nation out of 68 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 Hawaii's best musicians & performers as a poetic vocalist. He currently has full concert shows with Henry Kapono ("The Wild Hawaiian" - classic rock with a Hawaiian language twist), Makana (progressive slack key and rock), Kaumakaiwa Kanaka`ole (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 have typically been used for music festivals, concerts, and theatre engagements.

Commissioned Work
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 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards Show (Hawai`i's Grammys), the State of Hawaii's Department Of Health, the City and County of Honolulu, the Na Hoku O Hawai`i Music Festival, the Kokua for Katrina Benefit Concert, and the Kokua for the Pacific Benefit Concert. In the music industry, he has been commissioned by Hapa, Henry Kapono, and Makana. He was also commissioned to write the inauguration poem for the Governor of Hawai`i.

More Info
If you are interested in using Kealoha or his associates for your event/school, please send an email to 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.
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