Owana Salazar
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Owana Salazar
Owana Salazar
Born (1953-10-30) October 30, 1953 (age 65)
Ronald Ka?imihale Walters
Warren Kaipoho?ohuaamaua DeGuair
Parent(s)Helena Kalokuokamaile Wilcox
Henry Mario Salazar

Princess Owana Kaʻ?helelani Mahealani-Rose Salazar (born October 30, 1953) is a musician considered to be the only female steel guitar player in Hawaii to be trained by Jerry Byrd.[1] She is a descendant of Robert William Kalanihiapo Wilcox and Princess Theresa Owana Ka`ohelelani La`anui, of the House of Keoua, the originating line of the House of Kamehameha. She has been involved in Hawaiian sovereignty issues representing the Royal Family and is a current claimant to the crown of the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands.

Birth, family and early life

Owana Ka`ohelelani Mahealani-Rose La`anui Wilcox Salazar was born in October 1953. Her parents were Helena Kalokuokamaile Wilcox and Henry Mario Salazar. Owana is descended from the ali?i line of La?anui, grandson of Kalokuokamaile, who was the first born son of Ke?ua Kalanikupuapakalaninui Ahilapalapa. Ke?ua's second son was Kamehameha I.[2]King Kamehameha III officially proclaimed that Kalokuokamaile's great granddaughter, High Chiefess Elizabeth Keka`aniau La`anui was eligible to rule under the Laws of the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom.[3][4]

After the passing of Elizabeth in 1928, her niece, Theresa Owana Ka?ohelelani La?anui became the head of the House of La?anui and married Robert William Wilcox. The next primogenitor rights was to their son, Robert Keoua Kalanikupuapaikalaninui Wilcox, having his first daughter, Helena Kalokuokamaile who became the head of the royal house in 1944. Her daughter, Owana Ka'ohelelani Salazar succeeded her and became the head of the royal house in 1988.

Owana Salazar was raised on the island of Oahu and graduated from Kamehameha Schools, where she sang with the Concert Glee Club,[4] and the University of Hawaii,[5] where she learned Kihoʻalu (slack key guitar).[2] Salazar studied hula with the Kumu Hula, Ho`akalei Kamau`u, Ho`oulu Richards and Winona Beamer.[6] In addition to studying traditional western music theory, studied voice with Elizabeth Cole, and studied piano, string methods, guitar, Javanese dance and gamelan as well as continuing to study hula.[7]

Music career

At the start of her public career, Salazar performed with Hawaiian headliners such as Don Ho,[8] Ohta-San, Ed Kenney and Charles K.L. Davis.[5] She was introduced to the world of Kihoʻalu by friend Nelson Hiu. Combining music theory with her repertoire of Hawaiian songs and slack key, Salazar developed her playing skills with help from her professors and other fellow musicians such as George Kuo, Bla Pahinui, Cyril Pahinui, Dennis Kamakahi, George Kahumoku Jr. and Sonny Chillingworth. Other musical influences include Joni Mitchell, Johnny Mathis, Connie Francis, Stevie Wonder, Genoa Keawe, Gabby Pahinui, Lena Machado, and Marvin Gaye.[9]

Her first recording in 1986, Owana and Kaʻipo, In Kona was nominated in the category of Most Promising Artist in the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, a Hawaiian music industry salute. The following year, her second recording, Owana, was a final ballot nominee for Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. Pupukea describes the characteristics of the ocean on the North Shore of O`ahu. Kula Morning takes you upcountry Maui, gazing from mountain to the sea. "Na Wai" is a playful poetic expression of love's experiences, full of Hawaiian kaona (hidden meanings). "Kalamaula" celebrates the early homesteading movement of the Hawaiian people. "Silhouette Hula" is a hapa haole piece, recalling the early jazz years of Hawaiian music.

For most of the 1980s, Salazar sang Hawaiian classics with the Royal Hawaiian Band and performed at venues in Waikiki and Japan. Jerry Byrd accepted Salazar as his student for formal study of Hawaiian steel guitar. Eventually, she received a full scholarship from the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association. In 1992, she became Byrd's only female graduate and has been called Hawaii's preeminent female steel guitarist. Besides Hawaii, Salazar has also performed in Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and the Americas. In January 2000, she became the first woman to tour with the Hawaiian Slack Key Festival along with George Kahumoku, Jr., Keoki Kahumoku and Daniel Ho.

Discography (partial)

  • "Owana and Ka'ipo IN KONA" (1986), Nominated: Most Promising Artist of the Year.
  • Owana (1987), Nominated: Female Vocalist of the Year; Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year.
  • Wahine Slack n' Steel (2003), Winner: Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year. Nominated: Female Vocalist of the Year; Album of the Year.
  • Hula Jazz (2005), Winner: Jazz Album of the Year; Nominated: Female Vocalist of the Year; Album of the Year; Song of the Year
  • Hawaiian Slack Key Masters: Volume III, Winner: Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album
  • Hawaiian Slack Key Masters: Volume IV, Winner: Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album

Cultural and Sovereignty Involvement

Owana Salazar was initiated into the Daughters and Sons of Hawaiian Warriors, Mamakakaua, a lineage society of descendants of Hawaii's ruling chiefs.[10] Throughout her life, Salazar has promoted Hawaiian history, culture and sovereignty. She served as family liaison to the Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts for two years, with the goal of planning, commissioning and unveiling a life-size bronze statue of her great-grandfather the Honorable Robert Kalanihiapo Wilcox. His statue was installed at Wilcox Park in downtown Honolulu, on the corner of King and Fort Street.

Claim to the throne

Salazar is among many that believe the Kingdom of Hawaii still exists[11][4] and while many genealogists recognize the claims of Abigail Kaw?nanakoa as a potential heir to the throne, Princess Salazar asserts her own claim as a descendant of the House of Ke?ua Nui. A large part of Salazar's claim is the 1844 proclamation by Kamehameha III that named Elizabeth Keka'aniau La'anui as one of the 15 children of high ali`i descent sent to the Chief's Children's School that made them eligible to rule in different positions that included monarch. Elizabeth La'anui died without children and Genealogist Edith McKenzie stated that each person that ruled required approval from the House of Nobles although only two monarchs from those children actually did. Salazar dismisses the Kawananakoa claim in favors of her line through Princess Theresa Owana Ka'ohelelani La'anui, the daughter of Gideon Kailipalaki Laanui and granddaughter of Gideon Peleioholani Laanui.[4]

Re-established Royal Order of the Crown of Hawaii

On February 3, 2017 in Fatima, Portugal, Owana Ka'?helelani Salazar has reestablished the Royal Order of the Crown of Hawai'i in a protocol exchange with Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza and Head of the Royal Family of Portugal, and other members of royal families and nobility of Europe and Africa. This event is the first exchange of royal honors between foreign houses of royalty and the Hawaiian Kingdom since the overthrow 124 years ago.[12][13]

Royal Orders received

Received by Owana were Dame Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Royal House of Portugal, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal House of Egypt, Dame Grand Cross of the Crested Crane of Rwanda, these being some of the highest honors bestowed by these royal families. The deep and cordial relations between the Portuguese and Hawaiian royal houses and their peoples were acknowledged by H.M. King Kal?kaua in awarding the grand cross of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I to H. M. King Luis I of Portugal in 1881. The present ceremony is in the spirit of the historic relationship between the two nations.[13]

Owana was also awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal Brotherhood of the Order of Saint Michael of the Wing by His Excellency Bishop D. Manuel Antonio Mendes dos Santos who through the Grand Chaplain admitted her as a Professed Dame given the fact she is a practicing Roman Catholic.[13]

External links

Family tree


  1. ^ "Live Music by Owana Mahelalani-Rose Salazar | de Young". Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b Amalu, Sammy (1955), "The Story of Hawaiian Royalty", Honolulu Advertiser, Lorrin P. Thurston-Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library
  3. ^ "Order in Council". Polynesian. (Honolulu [Oahu], Hawaii) 1844-1864. July 20, 1844. p. front. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b c d Boylan, Dan (August 7-13, 1998). "Battle Royal". Midweek. Honolulu. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ a b Lorene Ruymar (1996). The Hawaiian Steel Guitar and Its Great Hawaiian Musicians. Centerstream Publications. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-57424-021-4.
  6. ^ "pasifika-artists.com". Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Princess Owana Salazar, Cindy Combs". Herschel Freemna Inc. herschelfreemanagency.com. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Aloha Concert Series". Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "Bio - Owana Salazar". pasifika-artists.com. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Council of the County of Maui (March 11, 2013). "POLICY AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MINUTES".
  11. ^ Michael McCann (5 July 2017). Law and Social Movements. Taylor & Francis. p. 271. ISBN 978-1-351-56074-0.
  12. ^ Kaholokula, Lei (June 11, 2018). "Hawaii honors the warrior king that unified the Hawaiian islands". KITV 4 Island News. Retrieved .
  13. ^ a b c "Portugal embraces Hawaii's royal house". pressreleasejet.com. Retrieved .

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