Robi Kahakalau, or, as many of us call her, “Sistah Robi”, is considered one of Hawai`i’s most popular entertainers, and is unquestionably one of our most versatile female vocalists. She has won multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards for excellence in the Hawaiian recording industry. Her distinctive voice, creative energy, as well as mastery of seven languages (one of them being Hawaiian) puts her in a class of her own.
Audiences viewing her live performances are captivated by the glow of enthusiasm and sheer joy she projects. Her unpretentious demeanor, radiant personality and contagious smile are all assets that compliment her as an artist and enable her to bridge the gap between young and old, as well as cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and certainly musical barriers.
A third-generation Hawaiian musician, born and raised in Germany, this “Hapa Hawaiian – Half German” first moved to Hawai`i in 1980. “The moment she stepped off the airplane,” Robi knew that “she had found her new home.” She was determined to study and soak up all and everything about her Hawaiian roots. Little did she know that 10 years later she would be a Hawaiian language instructor at the University of Hawaii, as well as a successful recording artist.
Robi started to sing professionally in her late teens. However, it was not until she performed and recorded as female lead singer for the Hawaiian Style Band in 1990 that her distinctive voice became widely recognized, and her musical talent admired throughout the Hawaiian Islands.