ABOUT

Bula

bula's bio

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Growing up in Pahala, a small sugar cane plantation town on the Big Island of Hawaii, he didn’t have much. What he did have was his ‘ukulele which would prove to be a treasure greater than any sum of money could bring him. Pahala town doesn’t have any luxurious hotels or extravagant buildings, but it does emit a sense of aloha and love for the ‘aina (land), kai (ocean), and its po’e (people). This embodiment of aloha is its greatest commodity and what molded Bula for his future. 

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As a young boy dealing with academic and monetary struggles, he didn’t have a lot of confidence in himself or faith that he could excel and be an inspiration to others. He looked to his father, guidance counselor, and family musicians as mentors who taught him dedication and self confidence. Coming from a family of entertainers ignited within him a love of music. With the encouragement of his mentors, that love would grow to shape his personality, career, and later his community as well. Bula developed a passion for learning as he began to master the ‘ukulele. This helped him on his journey to find an inner voice and ultimately pride in the musician and person he was becoming.

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While attending Dixie State University on a football scholarship, he decided that music was more than just a passion.  He dedicated himself fully to making a career out of what he loved and was accepted into the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.  There, he studied music education and performance, earning a Master’s in Guitar.

Back in Hawaii, he performed nightly as a luau musician and deepened his knowledge of the various Polynesian languages and cultures. It was at one of these luaus where he met his wife, Ash.  In 2010, they created an entertainment company, Bula Music and Performing Arts. Its mission focuses on providing an array of live music, DJ, and Polynesian entertainment options, bringing high energy and setting the perfect mood throughout all of the special moments of a couple’s big day.  As a solo artist, Bula refined his focus to contemporary and Hawaiian music and became an island favorite playing at venues all across Hawaii. Bula’s love for music and his extensive training leaves an unparalleled experience unique to each event. Their company now leads the state in five star reviews for weddings and private events.

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Knowing how his personal mentors helped to shape his life, Bula had an overwhelming drive to become a youth mentor himself.  In 2010, he was asked to teach elementary school music and Hawaiian studies. His program started with six kids and some dusty, unstrung ‘ukuleles and grew into a program teaching hundreds of students. Given the opportunity of being a Kumu (teacher), he wanted to introduce music into children’s lives in a way that would shape how they see themselves and allow them to become a leader for others.

After six years at the school, he founded his own music school, Akamu Music Academy, which focuses on self development, health, and perpetuating island culture through living in pono (righteousness).  It provides free weekly lessons and scholarships to those interested in furthering their music. Kumu Bula’s students have performed all over the Big Island and have won numerous awards sharing their music and aloha.

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Family

​Bula lives on the Big Island of Hawaii with his wife, Ash, and his son, Anai.

Their love & endless support inspire every lyric he writes & each note he sings.  Together they enjoy camping,  ocean activities, and adventuring around the islands.

Book Bula for your event

Bula is known for his charisma as an MC and ability to work the crowd, feel the mood, and create the perfect customized music selection for you and your wedding guests.  Bula and his team are connected with you during every planning step prior to your wedding day.

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All donations go to the students for new instruments, scholarships, private lessons, and operating the Academy

This is my kumu story...

On my way to a gig, I ran into the principal of Kahakai Elementary School.

She had heard about my previous musical leadership roles and she offered me an opportunity.

She took me to a storage room back at the school where there were stacks and

stacks of hundreds of dusty, unstrung, untuned ukuleles.

This is my kumu (Teacher) story...

On my way to a gig, I ran into the principal of Kahakai Elementary School.

She had heard about my previous musical leadership roles and she offered me an opportunity.

She took me to a storage room back at the school where there were stacks and

stacks of hundreds of dusty, unstrung, untuned ukuleles.

Ukuleles

Ukuleles

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She asked if I would be interested taking on a project that would require me to restore these instruments and then design a class that would show children the joy that music can bring.

That summer, I spent every week restoring those ukuleles.

I know what its like to be the slowest learner in the room. I thought about this as I prepared to become Kumu.

I drew on my own challenges as a student, and used the power of music to shape the character and confidence of my students just as it did for me.

The number of students grew from six to over 100, and so did my responsibility as Kumu. I started to teach Hawaiian studies classes that used music as a foundation for the curriculum, and this program reached a level I could have never imagined. After 6 years of teaching at Kahakai, my students last performance reached an epic level.

As a very difficult decision, I left the school to pursue my music career. I couldn't leave my love for teaching entirely, and opened up my garage, a free place for my students to continue to foster their love of music.  Today Akamu Music Academy continues to grow as a music and mentorship program supporting self directed, autodidactic learning.

My doors are always open to my community, showing the power that music holds.

My kumu story continues...

Shoot me an email to find out how you can be a part of the Akamu Music Academy