Empowering Youths Through Music

By Keola Nakanishi, executive director, Mana Maoli

Founded in 1999, Mana Maoli is a collective of educators, artists, musicians, cultural practitioners, community organizers and families who share a common vision of and action toward community empowerment through our primary purposes: community-based education and awareness, pooling and sharing of resources, and sustainability.

We do this through our three programs: Kanehunamoku Voyaging Academy, Maoli Music and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School. Using the guiding principles of Ho’okumu Building grounding and foundation, Ho’okele –


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Keola Nakanishi

Forging directions and connections, and Ho’omana Providing sustenance and empowerment, Mana Maoli provides opportunities for youth and their families to learn, experience and create!

Mana Maoli’s latest project, sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, provides youths with musician, engineer and promoter mentorships, as they learn to create and record music and help market their final product.

This product is Mana Maoli’s latest double CD, This is Maoli Music, which features more than 100 youths from 13 charter schools.

The CD also features collaborations between professional artists and students. This is Maoli Music includes 37 tracks and a John Cruz and Jack Johnson music video. Other contributing artists include Anuhea, Paula Fuga, Liko Martin, Ernie Cruz Jr., Napua Makua, vocalists of Natural Vibrations, Ooklah the Moc, Rebel Souljahz, Maoli and many more.

Mana Maoli’s CD release fundraiser concert and the Hawaii Unite Music Festival will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. a Kaka’ako Amphitheater.

The festival opens with three all-star bands backing more than 20 vocalists from the CD, followed by international reggae artists Third World and Tarrus Riley. The CD will be available for purchase at the concert, various charter schools and at our website. It also will be available in stores in March.

Supporters can buy the Mana Maoli’s CDs, attend the concert, make a donation and express support of charter schools to your local legislators.

For more information, visit manamaoli.org or call 295-6262 (MANA).