Kūikawā is comprised of Lukela Kanae (left), James “Koakāne” Mattos (middle), and Joshua Kulhavy-Sutherland (right). They met in 2016 as students in the Institute of Hawaiian Music at the University of Hawaii Maui campus. As avid fans of Hawaiian music and lovers of good harmony, they quickly formed a group and began to play their favorite songs, attempting to copy the arrangements of their idols (Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau, Brothers Cazimero). Since then their musicianship has grown and they have begun to gig frequently around the island of Maui. If you are interested in booking them for a gig you can contact them here.
Kūikawā’s youngest member, Lukela Kanae was born in Wailuku, Maui, and spend his whole life growing up there. An alumni from Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus, he was always surrounded by Hawaiian singing and hula. During his transition from middle school to high school, he joined the school band and picked up the bass guitar. Urged by his classmates, he joined the Kamehameha Schools Hawaiian Ensemble, a Hawaiian singing and performing group. With no interest in singing, he played bass for the group, and picked up the stand up bass by request of his teacher. Throughout his senior year of highschool, he began singing, and through to college and joining the Institute for Hawaiian Music, he started developing his singing voice.
James “Koakāne” Mattos
Koakāne Mattos was born and raised in Makawao on the island of Maui. During his years at Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus, he grew an interest in playing music and singing. Kamehameha Schools Hawaiian Ensemble sparked his interest in Hawaiian music and over the years, he has developed his leo kiʻekiʻe (Hawaiian falsetto). Koakāne placed 2nd in the Richard Hoʻopiʻi Falsetto Contest held on Maui at the King Kamehameha Golf Course last September. As a current student at UH Maui College, Koakāne is part of the 2-year music certificate program under the Institute for Hawaiian Music (IHM). It is through this program that Kūikawā was formed.
Joshua Kulhavy-Sutherland grew up in Ulupalakua. During his childhood he was home schooled and entertained himself playing guitar and ukulele. Later while attending UH Manoa he formed a trio and began performing on Oahu. After graduating from UH Manoa and returning to Maui he entered the Institute of Hawaiian Music at UH Maui. There he formed Kūikawā with Koa and Lukela.