Halehaku Seabury, founding member of the multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winning group Nā Hoa, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer/arranger, and vocalist from Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu. He developed an early passion for music from his parents while growing up in Kāneʻohe. Picking up the ʻukulele at age seven, he played alongside his father’s band Kolonahe, just three years later.
In his formative years, Seabury studied the Hawaiian steel guitar under the tutilage of his uncle, Hawaiian steel guitar master Alan L. Akaka. He was motivated and learned his interpretation of so many aspects of Hawaiian music at an early age, hearing the harmonic, Hawaiian genius of musicians like Jake Keli‘ikoa, Jules Ah See, Barney Issacs, Gabby Pahinui on steel, and his great-grandfather Joseph “Steppy” De Rego.
A quick study on guitar who played incessantly, Seabury fell in love with the guitar in 1998. Major influences at this time were the work of Jazz guitarist John McLaughlin with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis and Anthony Williams Lifetime, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, Eric Dolphy, Egberto Gismonti, Bill Connors and Gary Thomas.
Halehaku formed a Hawaiian falsetto trio, Nā Hoa, with ‘ukulele player/vocalist extraordinaire, Maui-native Ikaika Blackburn and bassist, falsetto wunderkind and longtime schoolmate Keoni Souza in early 2002. Specializing in a form of Hawaiian singing known as Leo Ki‘eki‘e, or falsetto. “Nā Hoa is well-known in the Hawaiian music community as individually talented vocalists and musicians. Together, they elevate traditional Hawaiian music with soaring falsetto harmonies
Since inception, Nā Hoa has a steadily increasing fanbase, and in 2012, released its self-titled debut album, “Nā Hoa” to critical acclaim. Garnering four of the seven “Nā Hōkū Hanohano” awards for which it was nominated, the trio’s self-titled debut album won: Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Most Promising Artist and Hawaiian Music Album of the Year in 2013. E.P. of the Year in 2016.
Musical epiphany came when finding there was room for interpolation of jazz and Hawaiian music, and its recorded history, including the works of: Albert Ka‘ailau with the Kahauanu Lake Trio, Hiram Olsen with the Lopaka Trio/ Jerry Byrd, Hiram’s brother Sterling Kahalepuna with Al Lopaka, Benny Chong with the ‘Ali‘i’s, Dennis “Kuki” Among and Harold Haku‘ole on Makaha Records.
Halehaku has been fortunate to befriend many of the influences who were kind enough to impart some of their music knowledge—among them: Dr. Byron Yasui, Benny Chong, Imaikalani Young, Kuki and Beverley Among, Hiram Olsen, Bryan Tolentino, Chino Montero, and Lopaka Smith.
He began delving into jazz (within the confines of Hawaiian music) with his own band, Nā Hoa, while playing in clubs around Honolulu. He soon needed a vehicle to extrapolate the possibilities of modern/jazz harmony and Hawaiian compositions.
In 2009, he founded “Ke Kauoha: The Jazz Project” with Kapono Nā‘ili‘ili. Building something of a cult following, “The In Jazz Project” built a reputation for revitalizing Hawaiian repertoire with exciting arrangements built with modern influences and an amazing, almost comedic, sense of cultural awareness.
Ever the perpetual student, it is Halehaku Seabury’s passion “to combine the elegance of Hawaiian music and imagery of modern harmony into a vivid, cinematic musical form that can be appreciated by both Hawaiian and Non- Hawaiian music fans alike.”