Membership Highlights

The Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings

Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings (KCPS) is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non- profit organization focused on uplifting the lineage of stringed instruments in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Region. KCPS is interested in an ethnographic approach to perpetuating the history of mele Hawaiʻi by recentering the family histories of the individuals who elevated this artform to what it has become today. KCPS also prioritizes a logogenic approach to mele Hawaiʻi, and a musico-linguistic approach to the catalogue of recorded music that acknowledges the fact that poetry drives melody, and all projects at KCPS give equal attention to the voice and to the instrument, to the word and to the note.

KCPS is committed to perpetuating the Hawaiian musical arts and luthiery as powerful forces capable of addressing our communities most difficult challenges. Through educational outreach, curriculum development, and hands on vocational training, we intend to empower our local community while fostering a deeper understanding of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Region’s pivotal role in the evolution of modern global music culture in the international sphere.

One program called “World Culture in Context,” utilizes emerging virtual tools to create exciting opportunities for student cultural engagement and arts enrichment. World Culture in Context encourages students to look outwardly at the world’s cultural expressions in order to create new pathways of understanding and to gain enhanced perspective and appreciation for the cultural traditions that thrive in their own communities. Its components include a virtual presentation, virtual visit, and teacher resources. For more about the World Culture in Context program, KCPS’s partnership with the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, go here.

Master Instrument maker and cultural practitioner Kumu Calvin Wong of Hakipu’u demonstrates the ‘Ukēkē, an indigenous Hawaiian stringed instrument.

Award winning mother and daughter duo Pomaika’i and Maliē Lyman carry on a musical legacy and family tradition that includes legendary falsetto singer, Genoa Keawe.

Another program is the Forest to Frets.
KCPS has partnered with Puʻuhonua O Waimānalo to repurpose invasive timbers currently being cleared to restore historical agricultural Loʻi Kalo. These instruments will be assembled through our Luthiery Outreach and Education programs introducing at risk and underserved young people to the vocation and craft of luthiery.

Check out this Hawaiʻi News Now segment aired on January 19, 2023 entitled, “Nonprofit tackles projects to honor, preserve decades of Hawaiian music history”.

Watch the PBS special that focuses on KCPS’s collaboration with a Hawaiʻi State Archives to digitize over 20,000 historic Hawaiian music recordings

For more information and to sign up for the newsletter, visit and and follow on social media @pacific_strings and @kcpstrings.

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