Kaʻikena Scanlan living the Hawaiian experience as a farmer, kumu and musician

Kaʻikena Scanlan living the Hawaiian experience as a farmer, kumu and musician
"Remember where we come from and what aloha ʻāina really means" (Source: Talk Story)

Ka`ikena Scanlan is many things; A Hawaiian language professor and ethnobotanist at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, a farmer who tills the land in Honoka’a on Kaunāmano Farm, and a musician whose music is blowing up on the airwaves. Talk Story host McKenna Maduli flew to Hilo for a little farming expedition and for the first time we feature a filmmaker collaboration with Prime Footage.

In everything he does, Scanlan is driven to share the message of aloha ʻāina by "promoting the idea of taking care of where we come from because it's only a small place and there's not one other place like it in the world," he said. For him, it's important to "make sure that this place stays beautiful. Whatever route, whatever influence we have, to remember where we come from and what this place is. What aloha ʻāina really means."

Hawaiian Language is an important part of Scanlan's music. From songs like "He Kanaka" to "Smoke all Day" to "Utu Bang Bang," he says the stories in these songs always connect to what he teaches, specifically their Hawaiian cultural significance. "I definitely try and influence my set with Hawaiian language," said Scanlan. "There's a lot of songs that we have strictly in Hawaiian language and English verse. But then there's also times in between the set where I'm speaking Hawaiian and I actually feel more comfortable expressing my thoughts through Hawaiian language. I feel like the ability to hear somebody doing that, to have that comfortableness, somebody just being able to speak that language out in a public place with such a big crowd encourages other people to want to go back and jump in."

Scanlan raises Berkshire pigs on Kaunāmano Farm and uses a rotational grazing method to create clean pastures for sustainable, organic pork. He calls himself a kupuna in training and hopes to create a legacy of sustainable life in the Hawaiian islands.

"I would like to bring the islanders back to where they call home. Back to the culture to be proud of that instead of being pushed out because there's no income because they need to find jobs and a better place, a cheaper place to live. We have enough manpower, we have enough resources, we have enough connections, we have everything that we need. (I want to) reunite the Pacific and bring everybody home, bring everybody back to that pono feeling of being home."

He is currently working on his next album with These Guys.

For more information: @kaikenascanlan

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