Friday, April 9, 2010

Hula Heaven

ALOHA, Friend!

You should have been here last night:

The large and mixed crowd began filing into the roofed,
but open-air stadium
hours before the event was to begin.

Hilo Bay could be seen glittering in the distance.
But it was not a Kona golden sunset,
that's the other side of the Big Island of Hawaii,
no, this was rainy, jungle town, east side Hilo.
But soon this sleepy place would hold the eyes
of the world.

Google shows that newspapers as far away as the UK
are carrying the story:
Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem
has been crowned Miss Aloha Hula for 2010.
(click HERE)

That's what Thursday night,
opening night at the festival,
is all about.

Tonight is my favourite night:
Kahiko, or ancient Hula.

Excitement mounts,
as do the chicken skin bumps
on the arms of viewers
in person, on TV, and via the Web.

The beat of the Pahu
(large shark-skin covered drum)
rings out.
A chant is heard.

A procession of male dancers
clad in malo (loincloth)
in greenery,
tribal tattoos,
and proud expressions,
take the stage as one
like a military unit.

After the proper moment of silence
they begin their chant.

Winds and skies and tiny beings,
leaves and rocks, waters
and ancient ones
all listen
and pay heed.

As one they begin
with force!

(courtesy of Paradise Cove)

The women fans,
and a good deal of the men,
yell and squeal with a primal delight.

And the women dancers!

Their power, beauty, and embodied sacredness!
They defy words
except perhaps ancient ones
such as we bathe our souls in

Hoo! Good, yeah?

Yeah, I like Kahiko night the best.
Saturday is Auana, or modern Hula
as danced since the monarchy era.

The women sway as you are familiar with
the men wear pants,
they all wear quite a lot actually (missionary times)
and smile beautifully.

These men are not effeminate,
quite the opposite in fact.

It has taken some growth
since the "Hula is for girls,
and football for boys"
times of the 50's.

I guess I'm rambling.
I'll be in something of a Hawaiian fog
for the rest of the weekend;
Staying up late,
knowing a little,
but feeling a lot of appreciation,
and joy.

On Saturday night
as the judges tally the final scores
(after midnight usually)
a pandemonium of exhaustion and joy breaks out.
the musicians play,
the stadium buzzes.

Halau (hula schools/familes) that have competed
sit together and laugh.

The cameras sweep the place,
settling on great faces
young & old,
and visitor.

This is the time when the
Kumu (sources/teachers of the Halau)
most always get up spontaneously
and dance,
each their own form,
yet all at the same time,
on the giant wooden stage.

Everyone is giddy.

This year is the first
that Uncle George Naope
(read about him HERE)
will not be here
to get up and dance his
(mischievous, funny, borderline)

And the entire Hula world feels that loss

Aunty Dottie,
festival founder and longtime head,
is now watching from the world beyond too.

This year is for them,
and for respected Kumu Hula
Rae Fonseca
who also passed recently.
(story HERE)

And yet the heart of Hula,
of the Hawaiian people,
and all who love this people
and culture
is beating stronger than ever.

So do check out the previous post about the festival
(Here) and below.

I should be back to baking
metaphysical muffins
and posting photos
of Waikiki again

I have tried to embed videos below
but am not sure they loaded right.
So check out the website HERE

Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem,

The 2010 Merrie Monarch Festival: Television and Live Stream Schedule

Miss Aloha Hula 2009 - Cherissa Henoheanapuaikawaokele KaneMiss Aloha Hula 2009 - Cherissa Henoheanapuaikawaokele Kane

Watch the 2010 Merrie Monarch Festival in high-definition in Hawaii on KFVE or from anywhere in the world via live streaming on! All times are Hawaiian Standard Time. (Midnight in New York City, is 6pm HST)

Thursday, April 8: 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Women compete for the coveted title of "Miss Aloha Hula"

Friday, April 9: 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Hula Kahiko: Halau perform ancient style dances

Saturday, April 10: 6:00 PM to 12:30 AM
Hula Auana and Awards presentation: Halau perform modern style dances and the winning halau are announced after the final performance.

Video clips of all performances will be available the day after the performance.

Warm Aloha From Hawaii! cloudia