“Raiatea Helm sings in the high-voiced throwback leo ki‘eki‘e style without a hint of kitsch. Her second album, Sweet and Lovely is poised and utterly elegant.” -- The New York Times
Hawaii's reigning premier female vocalist and 2-time Grammy nominee Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm released her first album, Far Away Heaven, in 2003. That same year she won the Female Vocalist of the Year and Most Promising Artist titles at the 2003 HARA (Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists) Awards. Her 2004 second release, Sweet & Lovely, was nominated for a Grammy and took home both Female Vocalist of the Year and Favorite Entertainer of the Year honors at the HARA Awards. She is currently touring in support of her third release, the Grammy nominated Hawaiian Blossom (2007).
Raiatea sings in the traditional falsetto style of early Hawaiian singers. The style was practiced principally by male singers in the 1940s and '50s, leo ki‘eki‘e but also found powerful voice in the form of legendary Hawai'ian songbird Lena Machado (1903-74) and "Auntie" Genoa Leilani Adolpho Keawe-Aiko (1918-2008). Raiatea is recognized throughout all of Hawai'i as the heir apparent to this old school style of singing and has been instrumental in the revitalization of leo ki‘eki‘e on the Hawaiian music scene.