Maui Hālau Highlight Haleakalā and Waikapū at Merrie Monarch
By Wendy Osher
The Merrie Monarch Hula Festival continues at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium in Hilo, Hawaiʻi, with two hālau from Maui competing in the final round of competition tonight (Saturday, April 26), with ʻauana, or modern hula selections.
The men of Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of nā kumu hula ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, will perform a hula to a medley that speaks of the beauty of Haleakalā.
The song selection includes “Kuahiwi Nani,” which was composed by Alice Kuʻuleialohapoʻinaʻole Nāmakelua for the Maui float in the 1941 Kamehameha Day Parade, according to material published by the Merrie Monarch Festival.
The mele describes the beauty of Maui’s highest peak, Haleakalā and the cold ʻŪkiu north wind of Makawao. The mele also “refers to Makawao and the customary gathering of edible tree fungus called pepeiao akua,” according to Festival material.
The other part of the performance is to a “Haleakalā Hula Medley.” The Haleakalā Hula is often credited to composer Amy Kalima in the 1920s,” according to material published by the Merrie Monarch Festival. The publication description says of Haleakalā, “You are a beautiful mountain… well known throughout the word.”
The men will perform 19th in tonight’s lineup, or the fifth group after intermission. They will be followed by fellow Maui dancers, the women of Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, under the direction of kumu hula Nāpua Greig.
The women will perform a modern hula to a traditional chant, “I Waikapū Ke Aloha,” which commemorates the fours famous waters of Nā Wai ʻEhā in Central Maui.
The chant is set to music by Kamakoa Lindsey-Asing, and speaks of the famous winds of the districts with allusions of affection, according to material published by the Merrie Monarch Festival. “You were in Lahaina; With the Kuaʻula wind; Amid the shelter of the breadfruit trees of Lele; Gently pinching,” the publication description says.
Following tonight’s competition, the judges will tally scores from the kahiko and ʻauana entries and announce the winning selections.
The kahiko competition begins at 5:45 tonight at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium, and will be broadcast live at 6 p.m. on KFVE, with live streaming at the KFVE website. The hula ʻauana competition and awards will be rebroadcast from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, 2014.