Hereʻs wishing us all a new year of happiness, prosperity and calm in which to continue to enjoy Hawaiian music and hula! Itʻs hard to believe that my last post here was Sept. 8. This means partly that last semester was really crazy. And this semester is already promising to be even crazier.
I am just back from three days of glorious hula at the North Coast Hula Workshop in Twinsburg, Ohio, produced by Michelle Taylor and her hālau, Ka Hui Hula o Ka ʻAina Punahele. This year, in addition to the incomparable Mapuana de Silva of Hālau Mōhala ʻIlima, husband/scholar Kīhei de Silva, the workshop marked its tenth anniversary by bringing back one of the instructors at their very first workshop–Kealiʻi Reichel. And the backing musicians included Shawn Pimental and Uncle Moses Kane. OMG OMG OMG. What a weekend of food for mind, body and soul.
Those workshops have are meaningful on multiple levels. Mapuana does not teach routines. She teaches culture. She teaches what she lives. And she really strives to have workshop attendees understand that. Then to . . . searching for appropriate word here . . . to describe what it is that Kihei brings to this–well, enrichment is exactly the wrong word. To say that he adds to what she teaches is exactly the wrong valence. What Kihei contributes is exactly a yin-yang kind of complementarity to what Mapuana teaches. His manaʻo and moʻolelo on the mele being taught cannot be separated from the choreography she shares. That is the exquisitely simple beauty of what they bring to us.
Kealiʻi did not teach a hula. Instead he shared his explorations into the realm of hakukole that he has been tracking for years. Hakukole–to defame, to ridicule (says the Hawaiian Dictionary on wehewehe.org). He explained why an understanding of negative emotions is important balance to all the emphasis on aloha and love and peace and serenity and tranquility. Those are all great, and make great PR, but a perspective of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian culture that is only love and aloha is an unbalanced one. The central part of the presentation, however, was the most hilarious catalog of ways to ridicule or mock, and most hilariously delivered. Pī ke amo!!
Okay, looking forward, my next big endeavor is the upcoming activities with Kūlia i ka Pūnāwai (Kumu Hula Association of Southern California). On Feb. 15, 2015, the organization is presenting its fourth and final mass concert, “Kaulana Nā Pua,” at Soka University Performing Arts Center (see poster below). Iʻll have more to say about this event in due course. For now, all I will say is this: you donʻt want to miss this one if you can help it!! Go to www.punawai.org to order tickets.
Then in March: Hula Camp in Malibu!! Whoo hoo!!The sixth year of hula camp!! This is where the haumana are all bonding and cooking up all manner of kolohe hijinks while nā kumu are chilling in the lodge cooking up all manner of hijinks. No, seriously, undoubtedly one of the best bargains around: $200 gets you six different classes, plus accommodations and meals, and a good fun hoʻike on Saturday nite. On a mountaintop in Malibu with the most incredible ocean view. Go to www.punawai.org to register. Hula Camp sells out completely, so donʻt wait!!
Okay, ua lawa. Pau until next time.