Category Archives: Hawaiian Music

‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola Features Individual Talents

‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola has been interviewing many native Hawaiian individuals recently and their accomplishments in relation to the Hawaiian language and culture. Their project is called “11 for 2011” in which they speak with ambitious members of the native Hawaiian community and show they talent and dreams for the future.

One of my favorite individuals to listen to was Ezekiel Lau who is a senior at Kamehameha Schools and talked about his passion as a surfer and his plans about making it to the top of the junior surfing world. To learn more about Lau here is his website http://www.ezekiellau.com/

Another interesting story is about a young native of Hawaii, Kealoha HawaiiSlam as he likes to call himself. Kealoha shares his passion with slam poetry, as he believes that it is the perfect combination of thinking, writing, and theater. What I found interesting about Kealoha is that he graduated from the Massachussets Institute of Technology with a nuclear engineering degree but now is devoting his time to slam poetry because it’s his passion.

Here is his website: http://www.kealohapoetry.com/

I also enjoyed ‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola’s story on Ka’iulani Murphy who is an educator for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.  Murphy talks about her experiences on one of Hawaii’s famous voyages, Hokule’a and her future plans in relation to voyaging.

Another interesting story that I enjoyed is on Kamu Kapoi, a local boy born in Waianae, O’ahu who works for the Makaha Studios  Hawaii’s young digital storyteller media services business and is also captain of Wa’a E ALA – Kekoa O Wai’anae. He shares his adventures and love for film and voyaging.

For more interviews on individuals please Visit ‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola’s website.

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E Malama I Ke Kai Annual Awareness Fundraiser

This year Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o will be holding their annual “E Malama I ke Kai Awareness Fundraiser on Saturday May 14th, from 10am to 3pm at Kapi’olani Park Bandstand, Honolulu, HI.

E Malama I ke Kai means to care for the sea, basically an annual ocean awareness fundraiser that has been hosted by Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o for a little over a decade. This event is a free concert with exhibitors and activities to support Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o one of the Hawaiian immersion preschools on the island of O’ahu.

Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o has fostered a unique connection to the ocean through its teachers who engage their students in ocean awareness because they themselves are great watermen and women. Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o is trying to obtain a more sustainable learning community through their curriculum, making ocean awareness a must because the ocean is an important part of the Hawaiian culture.

The event will feature an outrigger canoe race from Maunalua Bay to Waikiki, followed by environmental education arts and crafts, games for the whole family, good food, and great entertainment. Last year approximately 5,000 people attended this event.

Having attended this event in the past I believe that it is a great way to get the community involved in learning about the local ocean conservation as well as perpetuating the Hawaiian language and culture with all the art exhibits and activities.

19th Annual Celebration of the Arts

The Annual Celebration of the Arts is an event that happens every year bringing Hawaii’s finest artisans, educators, cultural practitioners, speakers, and entertainers together for the Hawai’i community. Throughout this weekend from April 22-24 the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Kapalua, Maui is hosting the event.

This year’s theme for the celebration is , “E na Aumakua,” which is in honor of our ancestors. Clifford Nae’ole who is the cultural advisor and event chair said that this years theme, “Embraces the call to our ancestors and all things natural.”

The event includes a full schedule of cultural panels, films, hands-on art, demonstrations, music and dance. According to the Hawaii Tourism Association this event is a past recipient of the “Keep it Hawai’i Kahili Award” and was rated as the number one cultural event by the Hawai’i Modern Luxury Magazine.

The event opens with traditional ceremonies at sunrise on Friday, April 22 and concludes with a Celebration Lu’au and Show on Saturday night, April 23, followed by an after-hours party at the hotel lobby.  There will also be an Easter Brunch and Easter Egg Hunt on the Plantation Lawn on Sunday, April 24th.

Most of the events try to incorporate earth day in their activities along with the theme which is honoring our ancestors. I believe that this is a great way to get the community involved with learning cultural practices as well as the Hawaiian language through a series of fun events.

Taken from the 2010 Annual Celebration of the Arts:

The 47th Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival

Next week from April 24th through the 30th the 47th Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival is coming back to Hilo, Hawai’i again. I’m sure everyone in Hawai’i is familiar with the Merrie Monarch Festival but if you aren’t it is week-long cultural festival that honors King David Kalakaua.

Kalakaua was credited with restoring many Hawaiian cultural traditions during his reign, including the Hula (Hawaiian dance). The Merrie Monarch is the biggest Hula competition in the world.

Many Halau Hula (Hula Groups) who attend the competition come from all over the world including the U.S. mainland, Japan, and other Polynesian countries such as Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, etc.

Besides the Hula competition itself there are craft fairs, art shows, hula shows, and a grand parade through Hilo town.

The Merrie Monarch has seven Hula competitions, the Kane Overall (Best out of the men), Wahine Overall (Best out of the Women), the Kane Kahiko (Mens Traditional Hawaiian), Wahine Kahiko (Womens Traditional Hawaiian), the Kane ‘Auana (Mens Modern Hawaiian), Wahine ‘Auana (Womens Modern Hawaiian), and Miss Aloha Hula, which as an individual competition amongst the best women dancers.

My favorite competition to watch every year is the Miss Aloha Hula competition because it shows individual talent amongst the best women dancers. Last year my friend Kapua Desa got second place for Miss Aloha Hula and I would like to share her amazing Hula Kahiko performance.

Here is sneak-preview of the Merrie Monarch Festival competitors as they prepare themselves. Brought to you by  ‘Ahai ‘Olelo Ola

Maoli Film Festival – Papa Mau

The Hawaii Independent is a Hawai’i corporation that is the only locally-owned source of daily local news with a broad base of local member-owners. The Hawaii Independent focuses on Hawaii news, culture, and community only.

The Hawaii Independent wrote an article about the Kumu Kahua Theater hosting the Maoli festival for the first time. The Kahua Theater is dedicated to producing and sharing works by Hawaiian writers and about the Hawaiian culture as well as other Polynesian cultures.

The Maoli festival consists of six short films by Hawaii directors that will be showed on Friday, May 6th, 2011. The first film is “Chief,” which is about a fallen Samoan chief, a tragic death, and a tsunami. The second film is entitled “Piko” and shows indigenous visual arts. Third, “Stones,” is a film about a Hawaiian legend about a couple. Fourth, “Blue Tarp City” is a film about disempowerment and community passion in Hawaii. Fifth, “Lychee Thieves” is a humorous film about interactions among culturally and ethnically diverse people in Hawaii.

The last film is “Papa Mau,” directed by Na’alehu Anthony, who is a Hawaiian filmmaker and co-founder and CEO of ‘Oiwi TV. Papa Mau was released in 2010 and I had the opportunity to watch it already and I think it is very interesting because I am familiar with the people in the film.

Papa Mau is a documentary about Mau Pialug, the Micronesian navigator who taught Nainoa Thompson everything he knows about voyaging by following the stars like out Polynesian ancestors.

What I enjoy most about this film is that it has clips in which the Hawaiian language is incorporated. If I attended Kumu Kahua Theater’s Maoli film festival I suggest you keep your eye open for Papa Mau.

Here is a sneak-preview of Papa Mau:

Grammys Cut Hawaiian music category in overhaul of awards

The Honolulu Advertiser had an article in the paper on April 6, 2011by the Associated Press to announce that the Grammys are eliminating 31 music album award categories. This has been the biggest overhaul in the 53-year history of the Grammys.

“It ups the game in terms of what it takes to receive a Grammy and preserves the great esteem of with its held in the creative community, which is the most important element,” Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said. Basically Portnow is saying that by eliminating these categories it would make the Grammys more challenging and competitive.

Tia Carrere won this year’s Grammy for best Hawaiian music album but this Grammy category has been eliminated. Other categories that were dropped from the Grammys include best Native American album, rap performance by a duo group, etc.

Portnow pointed out that although they are getting rid of many categories, most of the categories that are being eliminated can still win in other categories, making it more challenging for artists to win. Hawaiian music could still win in the new best regional roots music category, which consists of more genres.

People in Hawai’i greatly value Hawaiian music, especially because there was a time when our ancestors could not listen or produce Hawaiian music and having the best Hawaiian music album eliminated off the Grammy’s gives me a discouraging feeling. But I am still looking forward to the Na Hoku Hanono Awards which is the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts.

91st Annual Kamehameha Schools Song Contest

Like immersion schools, Kamehameha Schools uses Hawaiian culture and language as the foundation to their academic system, but is not taught through the Hawaiian language and they have an Admissions Policy  of a preference of students with Native Hawaiian ancestry only.

A big event for Kamehameha Schools is their Annual Song Contest , this year celebrating their 91st anniversary. The competition involves each class competing, each gender class competing, and other small awards.

“The objectives of the song contest are to build up the repertoire of the best in Hawaiian music for the cultural heritage of any student who attends Kamehameha; to develop leadership, cooperation and good class spirit; and to give students the use of their signing voices and to give them pleasure in signing as a means of expression.”

– Laura Brown (Director of Music at Kamehameha Schools from 1926-1947)

There are six different awards awarded at the song contest which you can find on Kamehameha Schools website. All songs performed are in the Hawaiian language. The song contest is also broadcasted statewide in Hawai’i and streamed live off the internet, so I was able to watch it while in California when it streamed on March 18, 2011.

My favorite award to always look out for is the Richard Lyman Jr. ‘Ōlelo Makuahine (Mother Tongue) Award because being fluent in Hawaiian I expect this performance to be the best. This year my favorite class was of course the senior class, both girls and boys who won the Charles Edward King Cup. I enjoyed when they sang “E Maliu Mai” by a well known musician in Hawai’i, Irmgard Aluli. This performance was very beautiful describing Aluli’s matrimonial masterpiece and one of my favorite Hawaiian love songs. Here is the video below: