Carole Lanialoha Lee-Sumberg

Carole Lanialoha Lee-Sumberg (b. 1964)


Carole Lanialoha Lee-Sumberg, “Lani”, is a native Hawaiian born and raised in the Chicago area and third generation descendant of the first Polynesians who migrated to the Midwest. Her grandmother, understanding the dearth of Pacific Island cultural and musical resources available in the Midwest, left Hawai`i and came to live with her family in Buffalo Grove to ensure the knowledge of our culture, hula, and music was not lost in our generation. 


Following Lani’s academic music studies at Buffalo Grove High School, she pursued a music education degree at VanderCook College and the University of Southern Colorado. She then studied with master teachers of other Pacific Island cultural arts with an emphasis on repertoire. She toured as a performing artist in the venues these master teachers performed in, earning their respect and a place as their student.


Her continuing work as a professional performing artist in forms of music and dance encompassed chanting, vocal work, instrumentation characteristic to both Western and Pacific Island cultural arts, and education. She has traveled nationally and internationally, educating audiences at `ukulele festivals, workshops, and concert performances. Her work as an artist and advocate for the Pacific Island arts has been featured on NPR, WBEZ, Solid POI Radio, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Reader, Where Magazine, CAN TV, WTTW, KOCH-TV, and Chicago’s local broadcasting stations.  In 2012, she received the prestigious 3Arts award and in 2013 she appeared at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing, Michigan. 


Throughout her eighteen year residence at the Old Town School of Folk Music, she has taught hundreds of `ukulele students, refining her curriculum and cultivating a new generation of musicians with a refined sensitivity to the culture bridging the Midwest to the islands through shared repertoire.  Lani continues to perform and teach, hopeful that an appreciation will develop and augment the cultural literacy of those unfamiliar with Pacific Island repertoire.  Lani is featured with her two children on Folksongs of Illinois, vol. 5:  Chicago Since 1970, track 11 (2013).