New Faculty Spotlight

This year the College of Arts and Humanities welcomes 9 new faculty to the university. We will begin a series on the website introducing these new faculty to the community.

First in the series is Aaron J. Salā who returns to his alma mater to fill the new Hawaiian position in the university’s Music Department. His specialty is Hawaiian music and ethnomusicology. Professor Salā hails from Honolulu and is an alumnus of Kamehameha Schools. He has taught Hawaiian studies and music courses at both UHM and Windward Community College and currently serves as Music Director at Disney’s new ‘Aulani Resort.

Active in both academics and performance, Salā presents at conferences, writes for scholarly publications, and acts as conductor, music arranger, producer, director, and performer for a range of concerts, entertainment shows, and recordings based in Hawai‘i.

Current projects include the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. Professor Salā has been contracted by the Smithsonian Institute as a fieldworker to research and present findings on Hawaiian-language revitalization in Hawai‘i.

Below are a few highlights from his varied career.

Community Service:

*Member, Board of Directors of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

*Member, Japan-Hawai‘i Tourism Council

Music Production:

*Music Director, Walt Disney Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa

*Arranger, “Mele Kalikimaka,” for Bette Midler’s Christmas Album, Cool Yule

*Arranger, “Christmas Island,” for Kristin Chenoweth’s Christmas Album, A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas

Vocalist and Recording Artist:

*Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awardee, Most Promising Artist, 2006

*two commercial CDs:  Ka ‘upu aloha:  Alone with my thoughts released under the Hula Records label in 2005; and, Napo‘ona mahina:  the Illusion of Reality released under the Hula Records label in 2008


*Carnegie Hall Performance as part of Hawai‘i Calls cast, 2003

*Guest Conductor, Royal Hawaiian Band, Prince Kūhiō Choral Celebration, Kawaiaha‘o Church 2011

Current Academic Work:

*Fieldworker, Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2013