Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hawaiian before Hula

Aloha na hoaaloha,
      I have finally the feeling its time to get back to blogging.
Just to sit down and type a few things on what has been going on in my little world can be difficult since my  hula has been taking a back seat for me.   Yes, believe it or not I am making some changes now in my life and my hula will now be on the back burner.   There are a couple important reasons for taking this stance that I would like to share with you here is the first one; My new focus will be my ‘olelo Hawai’i, my Hawaiian language. And here’s why:
Alaka'i Ahonui and I last year's huaka'i to Spain.
        For the past 30 + years I have been working very hard to ‘uniki as KumuHula.  I have devoted years of blood, sweat, and hula tears. I love my hula passionately. It is what I truly love to do all the time. I love to dance hula. I love to teach hula. And I love to study hula, research the mele and learn everything I can about a hula.  I really love to choreograph hulas too. Luckily it was one thing that always came more easy than hard.  

And I really love to share hula by teaching others.  Hula makes me feel more Hawaiian.  Wow, I can't believe I just said that.  Well, why wouldn't I?
  Starting with my Aunties and mother, I have had a few good teachers on my hula journey and I've had a few great teachers too.  
 Although sometimes practicing hula was hard to do as a kid I do have many wonderful memories of it.  And as an adult, I have taught many wonderful people from all over the world how to dance, while still enjoying my own study of mele hula.  Teaching hula was never work for me , I loved it too much.   But here's the stickler: I don't know my Hawaiian language, and Hawaiian must come before the hula.
Looking at the website of Ka Haka 'Ula O Ke'elikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language  right away it states: 'O ka 'Olelo ke Ka'a o ka Mauli, -'Language is the fiber that binds us to our cultural identity.'
The language is what binds us, not simply our hula, hmm.   Remember who said, 
        "Hula is the language of the heart and therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people" .   Kalakaua, Hawaii's last reigning King. 
Both phrases are very profound, but its the language that sustains a people in my opinion and I'm going to start gaining a perspective of why I now feel this way and I'm starting by putting my Hawaiian language before my hula. 
         Hope you can follow along on my new journey.  See you soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Merrie Monarch 2012

Ke welina mai nei.....
Greetings to all! Did you get to see this years Merrie Monarch 2012? No? Well, let me share some great videos I liked. Check out this first one from Halau Hula O Kamuela:
Not only did this award winning halau use the Kala'au, but they used the not seen often Papa hehi. This halau is very competitive, always performing last in the competition because that is how the halau's are lined up. The later the halau performs, according to the competition standards, the better they are.  At least that's what I think. As great the performance was, it didn't even place this year! What?! Using a hula implement as they did should have placed this halau even if it was 5th place!

This next halau is a personal favorite of mine, The Academy of Hawaiian Arts:
Big winners in California, but not so big to the judges of Merrie Monarch. I love this halau for its bombastic style and no holds barred kind of hula. Not to mention Kumu Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu's rich and powerful chanting style. Again, no placing this year either...sheesh, no surprise there. Kumu Mark is beyond this competition...oh yeah I said it.  If the MM let the public vote like American Idol this halau would win hands down, every time!..oh yeah, I said it!

The following 2 halau's are 1st and 2nd place winners in Women's Kahiko.
Halau O Ke 'A'ali'i Ku Makani with Kumu Manu Boyd:
 I love this Kumu who is also the lead singer for Ho'okena.  I wonder how many halau Ho'okena sang for this year, since I saw him a few times at the mike working hard for that's aloha.... Did he deserve a first place win? I think for his traditional style and knowledge of hula yes he did. I'm just not sure it was his dancers' best performance at Merrie Monarch.  I still admire this Kumu very much. He was the best on the mic when he mc'd for the competition. No dead air and lots of mana'o.
Halau Mohala 'Ilima:
   Big winners this year along with their solo performance, Kumu Mapuana De Silva and Halau Mohala 'Ilima are regulars at Merrie Monarch with their recognizable unique style and a sure crowd pleaser. No doubt traditon at its finest.  I think this year's judges were good, and reminded us that at this competition tradition is the word and 'getting back to basics' was the theme.  I only wish they would open a new category for "best new artistic achievement award", then I know my favorite halau would win!  What do you think?
Check out more great hula videos at ...and don't be afraid to comment below! A hui hou!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Nona Beamer: A Legacy of Aloha"

Aloha....I'm posting this flyer today of the movie my dear friend at Chameleon Productions created of Hawaii's dear Aunty Nona Beamer.  The premiere of the movie to be shown Saturday after the Merrie Monarch Parade.  For those that knew her or those that admired her from afar, if you can make it I highly recommend you see this film.  You can view some trailers here:

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but you will see me among many who loved her.
Let me know what you think. This is a great time for the film to make its public debut during the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival week.

  Unfortunately on a sad note, another precious treasure has left us, Kumu Hula O'Brian Eselu of  Halau Ke Kai O Kahiki.
His halau from Waianae, Ke Kai O Kahiki, was among the leading halau in the past several years, taking first place overall at the Merrie Monarch in 2009 and 2010.  

Ke Kai O Kahiki swept the male categories in 2010, taking first place overall and first for male halau, for male hula kahiko (ancient hula) and male hula 'auana (modern hula).

  It was in 2010 that Kahula O Na Mamo O Mo'ikeha performed before Kumu O'Brian and his men at the Kalakaua Park during MM week. He was such a kind and gentle man and I wished I could have spoken to him, but we were all very busy with the events of the day.  He did mention to the audience that day about a young boy that was dancing with us to keep up the good work because he could see the boy had a lot of potential.  Well, that made the young dancer very happy.

A very gifted musician, but even a better Kumu so I have heard said. You can find O'Brian Eselu and his music on itunes.  He will be greatly missed.
         Have a great Merrie Monarch Week!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Merrie Monarch Hula Festival 2012

Aloha kakou!
Yes, its that time again when hula permeates Hilo! April 8 - 14.
Starting with the Ho'olaulea, Sunday April 8 at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium 9am.  This has Free admission so be sure to catch it.  They will feature local halau that you won't want to miss.

One of my personal favorites is on April 11; the Arts and Crafts Fair will have started, but be sure to bring lots on kala ($), your gonna need it!
 This is a wonderful event that lets you see the local talent out here in the Islands and you can always find some new fabric from Polynesia and of course hula implements too.
Also be sure to check out The Music Exchange  across from the Edith Kanaka'ole stadium will have some of my Ipuheke for sale. (ka'u kane makes!)  These ipu are the best handmade in all the islands of course! And yes, they come with the pale and kaula.
Next is the free exhibition night of hula, international performers, and music.
 6:00 pm, Wednesday, April 11th at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium.   This is truly a pleasure to experience, even if the crowd is huge!  I think doors open at 4pm, which means you need to get in line at 2p?!
Ha! You figure it out, only be prepared for the wait.

 Follow this link;   for more information on the week's activities.  Also, a not to be missed program at  that will offer some very enriching cultural workshops for locals and malihini alike! You will love it!
Okay, after some sadness comes the gladness and happy-to-be-Hawaiian-ness!
So get out there and enjoy some Hula!!!

For more information please contact Kahula o Nā Mamo o Mōʻīkeha

Telephone: (808) 430-1054 or (808) 937-0820
Location: Hilo, Big Island

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