Aloha Monday morning!! The 2013 Merrie Monarch Hula Competition drew to a close some 40 hours ago. The media coverage was both extensive and intensive–especially as the Festival itself celebrated its 50th anniversary! (The Hula Competition itself was launched in 1971, but the Festival dates back to 1964.)
Thanks to the Festivalʻs arrangement with KFVE tv, all three nights were televised live throughout the state, and also streamed live on the internet. The viewership was international, as was the liveliness of conversations that knew no boundaries of time zone or political borders: Facebook and Twitter were alive with running commentary throughout the three nights of competition.
Early on in the hula ʻauana evening, I posted the following comment on my Facebook status:
I know this is a HULA competition. But it baffles me why the musicians are not acknowledged. After all, isnʻt the mele the kumu/foundation for the dance? And isnʻt the leo required to voice the mele? The complete lack of acknowledgement of the musicians who sound the mele is beginning to feel like a kind of disrespect to the mele itself. ʻO koʻu manaʻo wale no.
The comment drew in a thoughtful range of responses. In the meantime, Iʻve had some moments to reflect on a number of intertwined factors. It is not a simple straightforward issue, but it is one that deserves deeper thought and wider conversation.
Over the next few days, I will be posting a series of reflections–after I get through my Monday lecture that begins in 88 minutes. Stay tuned.