Grantee:  Robi Kahakalau
Native Citizenship:  Native Hawaiian
Location:  Honolulu, Hawaii
Award:  2015 Native Hawaiian Artist Fellowship
Discipline:  Music
Web Site:

Robi Kahakalau (Native Hawaiian) will compose a collection of music and accompanying curriculum to teach Native Hawaiian pre-school age children language and heritage through music.

Robi Kahakalau is a renowned singer and musician whose body of work began when she was 19 and has been honored with a Hawaiian Music Award, three Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. She has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall, enthralled audiences in more than 23 international tours and is the lead singer for The Hawaiian Style Band. The singer is active in the language revitalization movement and earned a bachelor’s degree in the Hawaiian language and a certificate to teach the language in secondary schools from the University of Hawaii.

Support from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation will allow the singer to compose, teach and record a collection of songs in the Native Hawaiian language to empower next generations of heritage language speakers through music. Through this Music Energizes Language Education or MELE project, Kahakalau will create language learning and heritage products for pre-school age Native Hawaiian children about their unique heritage. The MELE collection will include a teaching module for the 20 Native Hawaiian language songs focused on specific topics. The NACF fellow hopes MELE will create dialogue around the need for community-based, bi-lingual early childhood programs, which foster Native language, culture skills and arts to create lifelong success for young children.