on my mind: Music @ Merrie Monarch 2013

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.

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2 Responses to on my mind: Music @ Merrie Monarch 2013

  1. lboesel@aol.com says:

    I look forward to your additional thoughts, Amy. I thought it was interesting that the accompanying chanters and pahu players, etc. were somewhat acknowledged in the kahiko portion, but the auana musicians were almost consciously ignored. Is it because the Western inspired melodies arenʻt truly considered “traditional” even thought the modern hula is accepted? Iʻd also like to know who/what body of people makes these decisions.

  2. alohajan says:

    I am equally baffled about the lack of acknowledgement of the musicians. Seems it would be easy enough to add that info. Or perhaps the TV cameras could give us at least more than a glimpse of them? I’m with you, Auntie.

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