Leokane Pryor

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Leokāne made his debut into the Hawaiian music world in 1999 with the success of his debut CD release, Maunahele. Accompanied by his performance group, Pōhai Kealoha, Leokāne gained great popularity delighting audiences with his angelic falsetto vocals throughout the West Coast and Hawai‘i. His first CD received wide radio play in Hawai‘i, the mainland and abroad.

Born and raised in the mystical Mānoa valley on the island of O‘ahu, Leokāne spent his youth gaining a love for the culture and music of the land of his birth, which he shared especially with his parents. Jacques and Marianne Pryor moved to Hawai‘i shortly after marrying in 1958. They followed other members of the Pryor family who had taken residence on O‘ahu and in Kīpahulu, a remote area- near Hāna, Maui. His father received a position teaching History at Punahou School, where they lived on campus and Leokāne is now an Alumnus. His mother, Marianne, was from Europe and arrived in Hawai‘i speaking very little English. She was a shy unassuming woman with a big smile and a kind and generous heart who was immediately embraced by the “locals” who spoke her language of aloha. Her close friends shared their love of their culture, taught her their local dialect, and their music. All of this she passed on to her son. It was her love for the people, culture and the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands that made an indelible impression on Leokāne, which he would carry forever, secretly in her memory. The song, Nani Mālia, which he composed for his niece, is Leokāne’s expression of his love and respect for his ‘ohana – embracing all the generations of his family. Though both his parents are now gone, their gift of raising their children in the safety and beauty of Hawai‘i is his most cherished possession.

Leaving Hawai‘i for many years to pursue schooling and life experience, Leokāne also let fade, temporarily, his connection to Hawaiian music. However, it was during this time that other types of music would influence his life and allow him to better his vocal skills. Living in the Bay Area of California, though good for a time, was not Hawai‘i and it began to take a toll on him. It wasn’t until his mother fell ill from cancer that Leokāne began to record her favorite Hawaiian songs and mail them to her during the times he could not be with her. Again, she brought him back to his love for Hawaiian music and this time, it would never leave him.

After a transitional period living in Santa Barbara, California, where the planning of a small birthday lū‘au for friends turned into a party for 200 and Leokāne realized the need for live entertainment, a kumu hula was referred to him by a mutual friend. On a whim, Pilialoha Christiansen was called to see if she could pull together a performance with her Hālau on last minute’s notice. The result was a magical evening with a five-piece band and thirty hula dancers from Ka Hale Hula O Pilialohaokalani ʻO Hilo under a full moon on the remarkably tropical setting of the ranch where Leokāne lived. Prompted by friends, Leokāne was invited to sing a song with the band. He chose the song Kīpahulu- to honor his family roots there- and life was never the same again.

That night began a life long friendship with Pilialoha and soon Leokāne formed the performance group Pōhai Kealoha featuring singer Puna Keli‘iho‘omalu, Nohealani Wright on bass, Danny Rodriguez on ‘ukulele and hula dancers Pilialoha, Kilohana Jeffrey and Kolonahe Raza. Pōhai Kealoha performed throughout the mainland and Hawai‘i sharing their love of the culture and creating a base of loyal fans. With their signature finale of Ku‘u Pili Oha, the concerts never failed to leave the warmth of aloha with their audiences.

After frequent visits to Hawai‘i and especially Hāna, the desire to return to Hawai‘i became overwhelming. In 2004 he was able to move to Hāna, Maui full- time where he now shares his life playing with friends, family and two rascally dogs, Kimo and Motu. Home Malanai, Leokane's second CD release in 2009 captures his love of Hana, Maui with many original songs telling of his home in heavenly Hana and his love for Hawai'i. It features many special talented musicians and composers - dear friends of Leokāne.

Soon after his return home, Leokāne was able to begin to pursue his other passion of preserving Hawai‘i’s native environment and culture. This started with a project in which he partnered with Suzanne Case of the Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i and Jon De Mello of Mountain Apple Company to create a DVD entitled Maoli No (Truly Native). The DVD celebrates Hawai‘i’s native environment and native culture through songs set to beautiful imagery of Hawai‘i’s native plants, animals and places. Pryor, Case and Kaliko Trapp co-wrote the hauntingly beautiful song Ke Ho’olono Nei”–featured on the DVD and also included on his Home Malanai CD. The song carries a critical message of conservation with the goal of inspiring the audience to mālama -or protect- what remains of Hawai‘i’s imperiled native plants, animals, and places. To date, 20,000 copies of the DVD have been donated to children and educators via schools, environmental organizations and learning centers: it is one of the largest campaigns of its kind to be launched in Hawai‘i. Leokāne remains involved in environmental conservation efforts in Hawai'i.

In 2012, Leokāne released a duet album No Ka Pueo with his friend CJ Helekahi who he often performs with.

Leokāne’s music has received wide radio play and has been featured in television and film. He performs regularly at the Travaasa Hotel in Hāna, Maui.