Category Archives: TONGA


Who is K’Nova?? …His Music/ His Life

Malo e leilei,

As you’ve may have realised, I personally have a natural passion for Island music. I’ve always had an appreciation for it… Being a guitarist, a bluesman at heart, it wasn’t until my wife and I went to Hawaii that I really, really began to appreciated the type of island and reggae sounds I had grown up listening to… And really come to respect the music even more, and love it to the extent that I do right now (Island music and 50s Rock n Roll is ALL i’ve been listening to since the trip overseas!). I recently discovered some sublime talent since Hawaii back in May: Kiwini Vaitai, Laga Savea, Kabani, Te Vaka, and many more. The other night I had some time to search iTunes for more sweet island music. What was the result of my search? I found this guy: K’Nova.


I am impressed by K’Nova. The sincerity of his voice, and the raspiness in his voice is unique. He almost sounds like an island version of Lil’ Wayne, minus the gold teef and with a voice that can hold more than just a melody. This just may be what Lil’ Wayne would sound like if he was Polynesian and… could actually sing like a pro. Another thing which also impressed about this album is that it was produced by both George Veikoso (better known as Fiji), and Laga Savea himself. it’s a polished debut album leaving me wanting to hear more.

What is it that draws me to this music? It bring back to my mind the calm that Hawaii brought to my psyche, the trees, the sky, the water, the perfect humidity, the sunshine, and the feeling of Aloha.

Check out this track from K’Nova’s self titled 2012 album “He Ikai Teu Luva” sung in his native Tongan language:

knova - knova

*** Wanna find out about K’nova?? See his Bio below ***


K’Nova Bio

The story of K’Nova is just beginning. It’s a tale of a rough upbringing, incarceration and redemption through the healing power of music. Filo Aho-Lelei Kasanova Vaiangina Jr. was born in California’s Bay Area and raised on the mean streets of East Oakland. With an often absent father and six kids to raise, his mom struggled to keep things together. The family moved from place to place and sometimes stayed in a homeless shelter. Before long, the lure of streets took over. “Home just didn’t feel like home to me so at the age of 11 I ran away… I lived with complete strangers. I guess they felt sorry for me and my story and didn’t want me in the streets.”

The next chapter is predictable enough. Like so many others, drugs, gangs and crime became a way of life and repeated trips to jail the inevitable consequences. Remembering those days today, K’Nova says “I had no future, no plans, and no hope”. His only escape was through creativity, writing poetry and raps to wile away the time. “I spent 7 years of my life behind bars for me to realize that it wasn’t for me. ”Released at the age of 19, K’Nova knew that something had to change. His solution: a one-way ticket to Hawai’i where he had cousins willing to take him in and give him a fresh start. They recognized his talent and introduced him to artists like Laga Savea and Fiji who became mentors and encouraged him to get into the studio for the first time. The result is the stunning self titled debut release.

Many artists can sing and rap, not so many can write great original songs. That makes K’Nova all the more amazing when you realize this is an artist who had never before written music or set foot in a recording studio. Not content to recycle cliches, K’Nova possesses an uncanny ability to relate his true feelings and life experience in a very compelling way. “Old Halalani” tells the story of his warm welcome in Hawai’i, while “He Ikai Teu Luva” pays tribute to his Polynesian heritage. Tracks like “There She Goes” and “Mommy” prove that this is an artist unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and express real emotion.

Early buzz and airplay indicate nothing but a bright future for K’Nova. In his own words: “When I flew out to Hawai’i, my life changed and I knew it changed forever. I never knew I had the talent nor the passion but I knew deep inside of my heart, I had a story. Music saved my life. In my music I’m free to express the way I feel. In my music I’ve learned what a family truly means and how important it is. And in my music I found home! I’m twenty years old now with a family of my own. I have big dreams that are soon to come to life. My dream is to be the bridge my Polynesian people could cross over. Within my people there is love and where there is love, there is always HOME!!”

>> Bio from here… <<


What a talent he is. More music coming soon… Until next Poly post, it’s Toki Sio (see you later in Tongan)  🙂


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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in HAWAII, Polynesian MUSIC, TONGA


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Kiwini Vaitai & Hawaiian/ Tongan music

Mālō e lelei,

Since my recent trip to Hawaii found myself searching for more island music. It didn’t take me very long to find Mr. Kiwini and make him a regular on my own playlists. His music takes me back to the islands, though the sound is also polished with some auto tune in there and an awesome band that sounds like it COULD be Questlove and The Roots… I love Kiwini Vaitai’s artistry and approach to music. And what exactly do I love about his approach to music? His passion for feel-good music. Island beats have never sounded better with his fresh approach, or as soulful and modern at the same time. Check out his Bio down below, and also one of my fave tracks of his called “Lupeolo” from his Independently Bizarre album released in 2009:

whatitdo-logo>>>>This article taken from The What It Do -The Urban Island Review showing the hottest urban artists out there<<<<


Even though fame and the spotlight was never the fuel behind pursuing a career in music, it has come to Kiwini (pronounced Kee-vee-nee) Vaitai simply because his fans can’t get enough of him. Born in Dallas, TX and a local of Waianae, HI, Kiwini (who is half Tongan and half Hawaiian) has really taken the best of both his Tongan and Hawaiian cultures to create music that is enjoyed and loved by many. His style of music is an obvious product of his musical upbringing but his work ethic and passion for music is the very reason he has come to work with some of the biggest Urban Island artists today. Collaborating with the best is a sure way to number himself among the best and Kiwini is right on track and making that a living reality every day.

Kiwini’s given Hawaiian name is Kiwini Kamuela Kanaka Lokomaikai, which means “Kiwini, the bountiful man.” With a name like that, it’s no wonder Kiwini was blessed with a naturally abundant talent for music. Kiwini attributes his musicality to his mother’s side and he has always looked up to his uncle Sam, otherwise known as Uncle Sam Solatorio, a renowned musician in Hawaiian music. Growing up, Kiwini says his mom always played Old School music and the second Kiwini heard Stevie Wonder, it just clicked – the style, the story, the music – and he’s been a fan ever since. Kiwini sang in the choir at church and he didn’t pursue music outside of church until 2007/2008. While Old School music was a great part of his childhood, Reggae music became another influence in his adolescence with Fiji being a huge inspiration.

kiwini.originalBringing Old School and Reggae music together seems almost a norm among Urban Island artists today but Kiwini does so in a way that has so much soul. Kiwini’s soulful delivery of his music is smooth and seamless, which makes live performances all the more enjoyable. With hits like “Can’t Stop”, “Lupeolo”, and “Pina Colada”, Kiwini is stirring up the Urban Island music scene and keeping a steady course with no signs of going anywhere.

Having done “Lupeolo”, a track in his native Tongan language (video below), Kiwini is looking forward to doing a track in his native Hawaiian language. Culture is important to him but Kiwini states, “God first, family second, and everything else follows.” Kiwini is obviously a man of priorities and knows that music and his success mean nothing without his faith and his family. Like any other music artist, Kiwini simply wants to be heard and put out music. Music is that one thing he can run to and all his worries go away and his fans are grateful that his soulful music is something they can turn to when they want to escape their worries.

Having sung backup for Laga Savea, Fiji, and J Boog, Kiwini has learned a lot in his journey to being an independent artist, which is exactly why he is as successful as he is. No one can deny it – Kiwini bleeds music; it’s in his blood, heart, and soul. There’s nothing like soulful, Urban Island music and no one does it better than Kiwini Vaitai.

Be sure to get Kiwini’s latest album Independently Bizarre on iTunes,, or in local retail stores. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

-Article Written By: Juliet Uata

So…There you have it. Until next post it’s Toki Sio (“see you later” in Tongan) from the Poly Hub… OHH, and… CHECK OUT LUPEOLO here:

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in HAWAII, Polynesian MUSIC, TONGA


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