Sunday, May 3, 2009

Odds 'n' Ends

My Fun Fact for my hula class last week was taken from an article I read online from the Honolulu Star Bulletin. It was an interview with the founder of the Hula Preservation Society regarding the results of last month's Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.

She said in previous years, elders in the hula community found themselves dismayed by the dances performed. Nothing about them was familiar to them. Traditional dances were being ignored in favor of newer variations.

But this year the küpuna (elders) were delighted. In the kahiko (ancient) portion of the competition there were four mele ma'i (procreation chants) performed. Of the four, two were top winners: "Tü 'Oe,"performed by the Ke Kai O Ka Hiki halau, led by kumu hula O'Brian Eselau; and "He Ma'i No Kalani Ha'u Ha'u E," performed by Hälau Nä Mamo O Pu'uanahulu, with kumu hula Sonny Ching.

I was glad to see that mele ma'i is the in thing now. After all, my halau has by now become quite adept at dancing "Ka Ua I Hämäkua," a procreation chant (also known as a genital chant) honoring Kamehameha the Great. As I told my class, by now we are veritable gynecologists of the mele ma'i.

In other news, I'm excited about the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, which has been created in Portland by the Ford Foundation to support and promote the arts and cultures of the American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native communities. The new CEO of the foundation is a native Hawaiian, Tara Lulani Arquette, formerly the executive director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, who is moving from Honolulu to lead the organization. 'E komo mai (welcome) to Portland, Tara!

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