In April, the week after Easter, the highly anticipated Merrie Monarch Hula Festival and Competition in Hilo will be under way. During this special week, ‘Imiloa will offer a three-day showcase of musical performances and cultural presentations in support of the Merrie Monarch Festival, providing visitors to Hawai‘i and its residents an opportunity to learn about the history and cultural significance of hula and its practitioners. All showcase sessions cover a wide range of hula topics.
This year’s programs consist of a wonderful mix of cultural presentations such as Haku Mele Masters with a prominent group of Hawaiian poets and songwriters, a special presentation on Hawaiian protocol for entering the Waonahele or forests by Dr. Taupouri Tangaro and Kekuhi Kealiikanakaolehaililani, and musical performances by Manu Boyd, Hoku Zuttermeister, and Kuana Torres. Share in the magic of Merrie Monarch Week at ‘Imiloa!
In order to continue to offer more educational enrichment programs, event program is by admission: $6 for members, $8 for non-members, per session. Seating is limited. To ensure a spot for a session, we recommend that you purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are non-refundable. Ticket pre-sales start Tuesday, March 25th. Please call 969-9703 or visit the guest service desk at ‘Imiloa to purchase tickets.
Wednesday, April 23
Presentation, "Haku Mele Masters of Our Time"
A panel of celebrated, contemporary Haku Mele (composers) discuss the art involved in the composition of Hawaiian songs, providing insight into the elements that inspire haku mele, the practice of documenting our history through poetry and song and the performance of mele as a means of storytelling.
Speakers include Larry Kimura, Keali'i Reichel, Kainani Kahaunaele, Manu Boyd, and Dr. Hiapo Perreira.
Musical Performance by Manu Boyd. Noted Hawaiian composer, kumu hula and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning recording artist, Manu Boyd performs mele from his latest solo release.
Manu Boyd is recognized as a Hawaiian language and cultural expert, composer, arranger, singer, chanter, choreographer, producer and writer. Since June 2007, he has served as Hawaiian cultural director at Royal Hawaiian Center at Helumoa, Waikiki, the world-class shopping/dining/entertainment hub owned by Kamehameha Schools and managed by The Festival Companies.
Manu leads the award-winning hula school, Halau O Ke ‘A‘ali‘i Ku Makani, est. 1997 - first-place overall winners at the 2012 Merrie Monarch Festival. From 1986 - 2012, Manu led the well-known Hawaiian recording ensemble Ho‘okena, multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Awards winner and two-time Grammy nominee.
Free Noon-time entertainment in the Atrium:
Music by Lei ‘Ula and Kainani Kahaunaele: Hawaiian language students from Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, UH Hilo’s College of Hawaiian Language, under the direction of Kainani Kahaunaele, fill the ‘Imiloa Atrium with song at the noon hour. Come listen to traditional Hawaiian music while you enjoy your poke bowl lunch, for sale in the ‘Imiloa Garden.
Thursday, April 24
'OiwiTV's Presentation on the original series “Na Loea: The Masters.” The original film series by 'OiwiTV promotes and perpetuates kuana'ike Hawai'i, or a Hawaiian worldview, through the engaging stories of a select group of masters whose collective knowledge represents an amazing cross section of cultural wisdom.
This kuana'ike is embedded in values that influence all aspects of a person’s way of thinking, being, and acting. These values are dependent on Hawaiian norms including a symbiotic tie with the land, the interdependence of language and culture, the significance of interpersonal relationships, and the practical, continuous application of traditional knowledge. Engage with Na loea for a look into what is helping to keep Hawai'i Hawai'i.
For more on the Na Loea series and 'Oiwi TV, visit oiwi.tv. LOEA: Jerry Ongies “Hawai'iloa: Rebuilding the Legend” While the ancient art of non-instrument navigation has been rekindled throughout Polynesia, the knowledge of canoe building has been largely forgotten except for a select few artisans. Following in the wake of her sister canoe Hokule'a, the Hawai'iloa canoe was hulled from two spruce logs gifted from the tribes of Alaska to prove the ingenuity of traditional building and voyaging techniques. But with the passing of her original builder – Wright “Wrighto” Bowman – Hawai'iloa was left to wait for another master craftsman. With a steady hand and unwavering dedication, Jerry Ongies is breathing new life into one of Hawai'i's most storied sailing canoes.
LOEA: Mac Poepoe, “Malama Mo'omomi” For locals on the rural Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, the “ice box” isn’t just the refrigerator in their kitchens but the abundant ocean that still provides a main source of sustenance for that community; a community that has fought against development and many modern “conveniences” with great resolve to maintain their unique island lifestyle. Malama Mo'omomi features “Mac” Poepoe, a native Hawaiian fisherman and community leader on Moloka'i, who has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge of traditional resource management with the hope of ensuring that this ocean “ice box” will be well-stocked for generations to come. Mac’s wealth of knowledge and expertise accumulated over his years of growing up in the rigor and lifestyle of a Hawaiian family that has been fishing and maintaining the sustainability of these waters for generations. (It could be said that) Mac is one of a small group (or “one of a dying breed”) of skilled fisherman who approach their practice with a passion not just for the sport of it but to hone and perpetuate their skill and expertise in managing Hawai'i's ocean ecosystems, which is critical to the sustainability of Hawai‘i and its people. This humble fisherman is a giant resource for Hawai'i's future.
LOEA: Keone Nunes, “Ancestral Ink” This is the story of traditional Hawaiian kakau (tattoo) artist, Keone Nunes, and the journey of cultural re-discovery inherent in kakau uhi (tattooing). The process of kakau uhi is one where the artist guides their subjects down a path of self-discovery, revealing life lessons of who they are and where they come from. Traditional kakau is an art that was nearly lost to Hawaiians, but Keone’s perseverance to learn, practice and teach this craft has been a critical determiner of its survival and resurgence in the Hawaiian community today. This piece was shot primarily on the Leeward coast of O'ahu in the Nanakuli and Wai'anae communities, where Keone resides and practices his art of kakau uhi.
Musical Performance by Hoku Zuttermeister. Hoku Zuttermeister, winner of numerous Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year and Hawaiian Album of the Year, performs timeless Hawaiian music from his album, ‘Aina Kupuna, and shares memories of his great-grandmother, Hula Master, Kau‘i Zuttermeister.
Hoku comes from a Hawaiian family dynasty that encompasses both the hula and music communities. His great-grandmother, Kau‘i Zuttermeister penned the beloved song, “Na Pua Lei ‘Ilima,” and his great-aunt is Kumu Hula Noe Zuttermeister.
Hoku’s love of Hawaiian music was inspired by great Hawaiian composers and musicians like Kawena Puku‘i, Maddy Lam and Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Genoa Keawe, the Brothers Cazimero and many others. He takes their songs to heart and re-interprets them in his own style with his wide vocal range and versatile instrumentation. Hoku says, “it’s more about the heart and feel of the song than the notes and chords.”
Free Noon-time entertainment in the Atruim.
Music by Keikilani Lindsey: Hawai‘i’s newest World Music artist, Keikilani Lindsey, comes from five generations of paniolo cowboys, musicians, and composers. A lover of most every musical genre, Keikilani celebrates his love of ‘ohana and culture through his unique interpretations of classic family compositions and traditional Hawaiian favorites. Come enjoy your poke bowl lunch in ‘Imiloa’s Atrium to the nahenahe sounds of Keikilani Lindsey.
Friday, April 25
Presentation "He Inoa No Hi'iakaikapoliopele"
This is a special presentation on Hawaiian protocol for entering the Waonahele and its importance.
What is the 21st-century role of the kuahu hula (hula shrine)? How has the kuahu hula evolved to keep hula a dance of sacred-environments? How are the kinolau kuahu hula (plants traditional to hula shrine) sustained in our modern extension of an ancient dance culture? How does the kuahu hula contribute to the wellbeing of our local and global ecology? Come and join Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani and Dr. Taupouri Tangaro as they share the function of kuahu hula in their respective hālau - Hālau o Kekuhi and Unukupukupu.
Kekuhi is an Assistant Professor of Hawaiian Studies Program, Hawai‘i Community College. Dr. Taupouri Tangaro is a Professor of Hawaiian Studies Program, Hawai‘i Community College.
Musical Performance by Kuana Torres.
Coming from an impressive lineage of musicians, including Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln, Victor Kala, the Lim Family and George Holokai, Kuana Torres began composing, arranging and playing traditional Hawaiian music at an early age. In 1995 Kuana, with Kehau Tamure, formed the award wining duo, Na Palapalai. From the meteoric rise of their debut CD, Makana ‘Olu, they have maintained a prominent presence in the local and international Hawaiian music and hula scene.
Kuana released his first greatly anticipated solo CD in 2011 and went on to win seven Na Hoku Hanohano awards in 2012, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year awards. Fans know Kuana for his incredible vocal range, while fellow musicians seek him out for his songwriting, arranging and producing talents. Kuana continues to set the pace for talented, local musicians with a steady stream of new compositions that are sure to become Hawaiian music classics.
Noon in the Atrium:
Book signing by Robert Cazimero for “Men of Hula” Friday April 25th, 12:00-1:00 pm
2014 Merrie Monarch Cultural Enrichment Program Highlight
Highlights of the 2010 Merrie Monarch Cultural Enrichment Program.