Kanekoa describes its music as ukulele powered hawai’ian reggae folk rock. Kanekoa has been playing together since 1999, melding elements of Hawaiian, Rock, Folk, Blues, Reggae and improvisation into a truly unique sound. Kanekoa consist of Kaulana Kanekoa (rhythm ukulele, lead vocals, lyrics), Vince Esquire (lead ukulele, backing vocals, sounds), Travis Rice (cajon/congas, kit, electric pads, backing vocals), and Don Lopez (u-bass, electric bass, backing vocals). Kaulana Kaneka, Vince Esquire, and Don Lopez are sponsored by Kala Ukulele..
Bill Kreutzman, drummer for the Grateful Dead and the 7 Walkers, called Kanekoa “The Hawaiian Grateful Dead.” Kanekoa was invited to play Bill’s wedding on Kaua’i. Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac) said of Kanekoa: “The band is amazing, and Vince is amazing,” says Fleetwood, who also plays uke and travels with one when he’s on tour. “I saw him playing electric guitar years ago on Maui, and it was pretty stunning. He’s now uniquely applying all his influences, stepping out of the traditional ukulele approach. He’s great.” James “Hutch” Hutchinson, bassist for Bonnie Raitt, says of Kanekoa: “Kanekoa takes the ukulele and uke-related music to another place.” “Vince has a much different and funkier pocket than any other uke player I’ve heard or have played with.”
Kanekoa has shared the stage with Jake Shimabukuro, 7 Walkers (Bill Kreutzman of GDead), Los Lobos, John Popper of Blues Traveller, Joan Osbourne, John Mayall, Marshal Tucker Band, Makana, Barry Flanagan of HAPA, Steve Kimock, Willie Nelson, John Cruz, Tavana, Eric McFadden, Ekolu, Willie K, Anuhea, Paula Fuga/Mike Love/Sam Ites, Brudda Waltah, Trombone Shorty, Fruition, Ian Neville’s Dumpstafunk, George Porter, DJ Logic, David Nelson, Afromassive, Popppa Grows Funk, Jerry Joseph and the Jack Mormons, amongst others.
Kanekoa has toured and played festivals in Hawai’i, California, Nevada,Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, and Colorado. Kanekoa appeared in the winter 2015 edition of Ukulele Magazine. Kanekoa appeared in the Farelly Brothers feature film “Heartbreak Kid” with Ben Stiller and two of their songs were used in the movie. In 2014 Kanekoa was invited to play the JamBase Live video series. The band’s 2007 CD “Under the Coconut Sky” is distributed worldwide courtesy of Fontana/ Universal. Kanekoa won a Na Hoku Hanohano award (Reggae category) for its 2016 release of Tales of the Fruit Stand Mystic. Kanekoa’s 2017 studio album Sonic Fruit Volume IV is nominated for a 2017 Na Hoku Hanohano award in the Alternative category.