Nawahineokalaʻi “Nawa” Lanzilotti is a sound artist, performer, and music educator based between New Delhi and Honolulu. Nawa’s performance work explores the possibilities of contemporary decolonial indigenous art with a focus on the body as an archive. This work which often includes cello and electronics, drawing also from Hawaiian 'oil and mele, has been particularly inspired by her collaborations with indigenous artists throughout India’s northeast since 2016 as much as her own upbringing in Hawai'i. As a native Hawaiian Nawa draws from the intimate worldview and vocabulary of her traditional arts practice hula kahiko (under Hālau Hula o Maiki). In 2019 she completed an MFA in Music/Sound from Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College. Her thesis performance explored systems of embodied knowledge in oral traditions through a combination of fixed media with live music and movement.
From 2013-2015 Nawa held a fellowship with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to study Hindustani classical music on cello in New Delhi and now studies in Mumbai with Hindustani violinist Dr N Rajam. In India Nawa founded PULSE, an international music collective dedicated to experimental collaborations uniting music and movement in underrepresented communities. For their most recent production “I am +: Dance Theater on HIV in India” PULSE worked with global NGO International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and frequent artistic partner Delhi Dance Theater to raise awareness about HIV and vaccine research in India. It premiered in New Delhi on May 18th, 2018, HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, as a result of interviews and workshops with HIV research scientists and HIV+ community members. PULSE plans to continue these workshops that stimulate connection, expression, and hope through simple movement, sound, and storytelling activities in India, the mainland US, and Hawai'i in the future.