Douglas Pooloa Tolentino has spent his life as a professional musician and artist.
As a teenager, Douglas developed an interest in Hawaiian music and scholarship – circumstance encouraged him to sing in the style of his kupuna, or elders, who nurtured his sweet falsetto voice. Doug was born in 1960 on a US military base in the Philippines. Soon after he was born, he moved to Southern California where he lived until he was 18. After high school, Douglas moved to Oahu to attend college and immerse himself in genealogy, musical composition and hula. He played ukulele with friends and family, gaining knowledge and confidence in the Hawaiian community. In 1981, Douglas moved to Kahana Valley to live with his family and became involved with his cousin Frank Kahala’s hula halau [as musical support]. As his knowledge and experience widened, doors continued to open for him.
For the last 30 years Douglas has played with most of the Classic Hawaiian musical kupuna in Hawaii. He has worked in Waikiki for more than twenty years playing music over the radio airways on Hawaii Callls and at the Moana Surfrider, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Halekulani’s House Without A Key. Having become the noted protege of Kahauanu Lake, a well-known musician and composer of Hawaiian music, Douglas developed his strum and style accordingly.
As for his career as an artist, Doug has published art in many different capacities – from magazine articles to children’s books. His images can be seen on the cover of Emerson’s “Pele and Hiiaka” and “The Unwritten Literature of Hawaii“, “Hawaii Sings”, and Merrie Monarch Posters. This is a small portion of a long list. He is also privately collected by patrons spanning the globe.
Douglas resides in Kailua on the island of Oahu; he continues to play at the Halekulani and produce art.