Hawaiian singer/guitarist Robi Kahakalau mixes the sounds of her native islands with elements of reggae, pop, singer/songwriter, folk, and rock balladry, plus the occasional touch of jazz and R&B. Not only that, but her linguistic skills are as eclectic as her musical tastes -- she's fluent in English, French, Hawaiian, and Tahitian, and all four tongues show up on her recordings. Kahakalau was born into a musical family -- her grandfather Tutu played ukulele and steel guitar, and taught traditional Hawaiian music in Boston; her father, meanwhile, performed as a jazz bassist in the '40s under the name Bob Carter. Additionally, her sister Ku is a songwriter in her own right, and has provided more than a few selections for Kahakalau's recordings. Kahakalau began her own musical career in earnest in 1990, when she joined the Hawaiian Style Band and sang lead on their two highly acclaimed albums, 1992's Vanishing Treasures and 1994's Rhythm of the Ocean. She began her solo career with 1995's Sistah Robi, which made her a star in Hawaii and won several Hawaiian music awards. The follow-up, Keiki O Ka'Aima, appeared in 1997 and solidified her status as Hawaii's female vocal sweetheart. Kahakalau put her singing career on hold for a few years, as she became an associate professor of Hawaiian language and studies. She returned in 2000 with All I Want, an album that blended her sister Ku's Hawaiian originals with covers of Bob Marley, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, and Tracy Chapman.
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