The Liliʻu Project

In researching and performing the musical compositions of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani, vocalist Starr Kalāhiki investigates the personal impact of the Queen's life and legacy on contemporary Hawaiian music, culture, and activism.

Aloha kākou, and mahalo for visiting our GoFundMe page,

For the past nine years, we have been documenting Starr Kalāhiki and the Liliʻu Project ensemble as they have performed the music of Queen Liliʻuokalani at home and abroad. Our aim is to produce a documentary film that captures Kalāhiki’s journey in investigating her personal connection to this unique repertoire, while also telling the biographical story of the Queen’s life in music. Over the past year, our film production has taken several major steps forward. In addition to having gained significant grant support through Pacific Islanders in Communications, we have also filmed over 20 interviews with experts in the field, created a robust website with a proof of concept video, and have begun the process of cutting together several biographical song sequences that illustrate Liliʻuokalani’s profound musical legacy. Our GoFundMe Goal is to raise $15,000.00 to produce a short film by the Fall of 2023, which we will then use to gain further funding support towards the final production of our feature documentary.

There has never been a film made solely about the music of Queen Liliʻuokalani and her impact as a composer. Our film celebrates her legacy by interweaving two narratives: 1) the biography of the Queen’s life in music, and 2) the personal journey of present-day vocalist Starr Kalāhiki, as she researches and performs Liliʻuokalani’s compositions, and in so doing, reveals why these songs remain relevant today. Using archival media, animation, and short reenactments, we tell our story through interviews with experts in the field as they chronologically analyze significant mele written by and for the Queen. Additionally, while intercutting Kalāhiki and her ensemble performing these songs in concerts and international festivals, we show Starr’s personal journey in discovering the impact of Liliʻuokalani’s legacy in the 21st century.

Our Queen lived during the most turbulent time in the history of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Dethroned and imprisoned for treason by white supremacists, Queen Liliʻuokalani bravely used her artistry to inventively convey unique expressions of onipaʻa (remaining steadfast) to her people. At the same time, Western colonial forces repressed Hawaiian culture, as the land was privatized, carved up, and largely taken over by foreign powers, resulting in deep racial inequality. Today, the unbalanced socio-economic conditions of Native Hawaiians are a direct result of the injustices committed during Lili‘uokalani’s time. Native Hawaiians continue to lack access to sacred sites, while racial discrimination in education, health care, housing, and employment are ongoing. Through her music, Liliʻuokalani embraced selfless themes of aloha and forgiveness towards the instigators of these issues, while simultaneously maintaining a steadfast commitment towards nurturing and protecting her Kingdom, people, land, and culture. The Lili‘u Project documentary film focuses on contemporary Hawaiian musicians and activists, who similarly use the legacy of the Queen’s music to further these same themes in the 21st century.

We will use these funds to help rent equipment, purchase insurance, cater our shoots and pay our collaborators (camera, sound, make-up, etc.) for the current phase in our production.

Any funds raised beyond our $15,000.00 goal, will be applied towards the significant post-production costs that will be needed to complete our film.


Mahalo ā nui for considering our project. Please visit our website for a complete description of our film, team members, musical performances, and unique adjoining initiatives:

John Signor
Producer, The Liliʻu Project documentary film


  • Mark Breda
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Mark Kadota
    • $25 
    • 1 yr
  • Cristina Bacchilega
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Rosanne Donohoe
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Richard Skidmore
    • $100 
    • 1 yr

Fundraising team (3)

John Signor
Raised $850 from 4 donations
Honolulu, HI
Joel Moffett
Team member
Raised $200 from 1 donation
Mandy Sugihara
Team member
This team raised $1,145 from 8 other donations.

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.