Josh Tatofi shares the inspiration behind his mele “For the Lāhui”

Talk Story: Hula is Life
Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 3:37 AM HST
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With his smooth vocals and deeply personal mele, solo artist Josh Tatofi continues to make waves with his music. He has been called the "Polynesian Luther Vandross" by Hawaiian Music Live and was named Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2017 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Talk Story host and personal friend McKenna Maduli sat down with the Grammy nominee to talk about his song that has instantly turned into a popular hula mele. Halaus all over the world are dancing to this meaningful mele.

Josh’s time at Mauna Kea inspired him in such a powerful way that he was able to express thorough his music. He shares with McKenna, “I feel like there is a part for everyone in the movement. Whether you’re a kumu, or a kumu hula, musician, you own a restaurant, whatever it may be, or if you don’t have any of those things and are just at home. But I feel like there’s a part for everyone. And for me, being on this platform, I felt like my duty was to write a mele and contribute to what is happening up at the Mauna.” “So, I just went up to the Mauna with my camera and my good friend Antonio Agosto and we wanted to document.” Although Josh wasn’t sure if his song was ready to release, Antonio encouraged him to share his mele with the world. Josh tells us what Antonio told him: “If it feels right, it’s gonna do right.” It is indeed a mele that has done right and inspired countless people and halau all around the world.

Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela performs “For the Lāhui”, shot by Randie Lunn.

About Josh Tatofi: Josh Tatofi is a solo artist born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i, and comes from a musical family. His father, Tiva Tatofi, was one of the founders of The Electrifying Kapena, a group who pioneered Island Reggae Music. Josh is an artist, composer, and producer who sings Island Reggae, R&B and Traditional Hawaiian music. Josh's debut album was recorded with Waiehu Records under the group Ekolu. His debut album gained him recognition throughout Hawai'i as a Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee for Most Promising Artist in 2011. His follow up single, a Traditional Hawaiian song titled "Pua Kiele", was named Island Music Album of the year at the 2017 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and has gained him a lot of attention in the Hawaiian music scene. He's quickly become one of the most sought after Hawaiian singers in the islands performing in Japan for multiple Hula Halau. He's also been invited every year to perform at the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo. Josh has been working on a full length Traditional Hawaiian CD that will be released at the end of 2019. He’s also been nominated for a Grammy.

For more information:, @joshtatofimusic

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