Hawaiian Cultural Experts
Melody Canto Masoe was born and raised on the island of Maui. She started dancing hula at the age of 10 under the direction of Napua Greig with Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka. Hula quickly became a love for Melody as she competed in various hula competitions and performances including Hula O Na Keiki at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. In 1999, Melody got accepted to board at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus where she began to dance for Kaleo Trinidad and Snowbird Bento in the performance arts department. It was there at school on Oahu, where Melody learned to love choreographing hula. Being able to express stories through dancing soon became her passion.
In 2003, Melody graduated from Kamehameha and moved to Hawai’i island to attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Her first job out of High School was as a hula dancer at the only restaurant in Hilo town that had nightly hula and music. On her first night of work, she danced she was blown away by Kaniala and his musical talents. Since then, they have been inseparable. That was the beginning of so many wonderful things.
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In 2006, Kaniala Masoe and Melody Canto married and started their family. In 2009, they moved their family to Maui from Hilo in hopes of advancing Kaniala’s music career. Unsure of where to start to look for musician work, Kaniala and Mel decided to take a walk through Ka’anapali to look for live hula and music. Kaniala began to sing at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, Hula Grill Ka’anapali, and was also introduced to the Wedding Industry where couples from around the world admired him and his music. Melody and the kids would join him on some of his gigs as hula dancers. From an early age, their children were introduced to Hula and joined their parents at as many performances as possible.
Kani and Mel both continue to have the same goal, which is to live by Hawaiian values and to perpetuate their culture through Hula and music. They have grown their love of performing into a production team of dancers and musicians that share in that same goal. The team they have is definitely not a work team but one big work ‘ohana. Among their performing ‘ohana you can find many talented individuals that contribute to their amazing and well-balanced product which show cases true culture. The unity of their group shines through in all of their performances.
When watching them perform, one can see various chants and dances including many original songs and chants that were composed by Kaniala. One of our favorites is ‘O Moloka’i, a chant written by Kaniala as a tribute honoring Laka and the island of Moloka’i. Another original song that can be seen during their performance is Tradewinds of Aloha, a sweet hapa haole mele written by Kaniala’s mother which speaks about the aloha spirit and how it flows through all of us like the cool island trade winds.
All of the dances performed in the show have ties to Kani and Mel’s personal experiences as they have grown throughout the years as individuals, parents, musicians, and dancers. It is an amazing indirect way they tell their love story.