Reimagining the string ensemble styles of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i

Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings

Inspired by the instruments that tell the story of Hawai‘i’s Sovereign Strings, master luthier and music historian Kilin Reece founded the Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings (KCPS) in 2019. This nonprofit is dedicated to the research and celebration of Hawai‘i’s and the Pacific region’s pivotal role in the evolution of contemporary string instruments and modern musical styles.

The Sovereign String Band brings KCPS’s groundbreaking research to life with an all-star cast of Hawai‘i’s leading musicians from the worlds of classical, opera, jazz and traditional Hawaiian music, united under the direction of Royal Hawaiian Band leader and Hawaiian music legend, Maestro Aaron Mahi. Through archival research and educational outreach on multiple platforms, KCPS’s work aims to reframe Hawai‘i as the epicenter of innovation and influence in the world of string instruments and to illuminate a rich and long-running legacy of musical excellence. 


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In April 2019, the Sovereign Strings Band staged two inspiring performances at The Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu. Both concerts explored the history and musical history of late 19th-century composer and musician Mekia A. Kealakai. Pu‘uhonua Society provided the Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings with logistical and promotional support for the performances, one of which benefited the newly formed not-for-profit organization.


KCPS aims to take the Sovereign String Band and historical lectures by Kilin Reece to schools, senior citizen homes, and underserved communities across Hawai‘i. The organization will also continue the research and translation work to make the history and legacy of Hawai‘i available to students, institutions, researchers and musicians around the world.

SUPPORT KCPS • As the fiscal sponsor of KCPS, Pu‘uhonua Society welcomes donations for KCPS through our website. Pu‘uhonua Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization; your donation is tax deductible.