Deva Leinani Aiko Yamashiro was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and grew up in Moanalua Gardens and Kapala ma on the island of O’ahu. She is huamana of Kumu Hula Vicky Takamine and Halau Pua Ali’i Ilima in Honolulu.
She has danced with Halau Hula Pua Ali’i Ilima at Merrie Monarch in Hilo, at King Kamehameha Hula Competitions at BYU – La’ie and Honolulu, and at hula competitions in Las Vegas. Traveling with her Kumu and hula sisters, she has also been on tour with the documentary film “Kumu Hula: Keepers of a Culture” attending various Film Festivals from California to New York. She is still under the direction of her Kumu Hula Vicky Takamine and continues to “‘Uniki” or learn with her halau. All that she learns, she shares with her halau and the community.
In 1995, Aunty Deva along with her two sons Kaloku and Keawe, moved to Nashville, Tennessee to live and dance with Paradise Productions. It is here where she began to teach hula. They lived there for three years, dancing hula, playing music, and teaching throughout Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee.
In 1998, she moved to Vancouver, WA to be closer to family and currently resides in Portland, OR. Aunty Deva started the halau hula Kaleinani o ke Kukui in 2002. Kaleinani has performed in professional settings such as with the musical group HAPA and musician Amy Hanai’ali’i Gilliom, on TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, as well as area festivals and community events.
Her two sons “The Brothers Kaloku and Keawe”, are talented musicians, models, and have won the vocal division of the Mai Kahiki Mai Hula competition in Seattle. Her son Kaloku has won the vocal division in the Hapa Haole Competition in Honolulu, and Keawe at Hapa Haole Hula Competition in Las Vegas.
With the help of her Kumu, Aunty Deva started the non-profit, Ke Kukui Foundation, and is the Executive Director. Aunty Deva is the driving impetus of Ke Kukui’s programs and events which share the Hawaiian culture with the community of the Northwest through music, song, dance, history, and language.
Annually, the Foundation hosts a Cultural Lu’au, May Day Arts and Crafts Festival, and the acclaimed “3 Days of Aloha” Hawaiian Festival. In 2014, they added a Hawaiian Slack Key Festival and is host to the monthly cultural and craft workshops and programs at the Ke Kukui Arts & Cultural Center in Vancouver, Washington.