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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

`Okakopa - October 1996 Volume 2 Issue 10

 E Hula Mau 2nd Annual Competition

By Puaanolani

Na Mamo heralded their second annual Hula and Chant competition, E HULA MAU, on the scenic University of Irvine Campus. With more than five thousand people in attendance over the 3-day event, the energy was high and the feeling of ALOHA was everywhere. The competitors were from all parts of California including Halaus from San Jose, Oakland, Redwood City, San Francisco, Fremont, North Highlands, Chino and San Diego, as well as excellent representation from our local Halaus.

Cherie Yamane

Cherie Yamane
1st Place Wahine Hula Pakahi
Kanai Kalama Hula Halua

 

Impressions of this year's E HULA MAU were overall favorable, including those from last year's competitors, Na Kumu Keali`i Caballos and Kunewa Mook. Kumu Mook felt that the “competition was extremely well done, and Na Mamo did a beautiful job.” He also commented that the Halaus should be commended for their integrity in their representation of the Hula. “The level of competition seemed comparable to last year's competition,” added Kumu Mook, with his focus being on his enjoyment of watching the newer Halaus competing this year with such excellent style and grace, including their mele selection, proper use of the Hawaiian Olelo, as well as the authentic hula attire. He hopes to see this level of presentation continue in the future. As for the plans of Kumu Mook, he has been very busy this past year with the Merrie Monarch Hula Competition, the Keiki Hula Competition in Hawaii, his halau spring Hoike, and currently has his haumana (HULA HALAU `OKAMUELA II) prepared for the Hayward competition coming up soon. For last year's competition Kumu Mook had been training his halau continuously for the three major competitions, and now possibly for four with the E HULA MAU competition being recognized as formidably as the Merrie Monarch.

Also, observing this year's competition was Kumu Keali`i Caballos from West Los Angeles. He, as Kumu Mook, also noted the “new Blood,” and welcomed their energy and spirit to this event. He remarked of Na Mamo, as an organization, being very supportive toward the Halaus during the competition. He also wanted to recognize President Dean Chow for his fine efforts to carry this competition to a remarkable second year. Kumu Caballos felt that the event went well with competition running very smoothly. He stressed throughout his interview of the ALOHA that he felt from the Halaus while talking with Na Kumu and their halau over the past three days. It was clear that the atmosphere was one of sharing and love. “Hula should be a part of them, a way of life and thinking,...” said Kumu Caballos, “and to have aloha for hula, and to share it.” His halau, KEALI`I `O NALANI, had also been busy with the Merrie Monarch festival and competition, as well as their Spring Hoike, and the competition in Las Vegas. He has hopes for competing next year, and will look forward to spreading the spirit of HULA wherever he goes.

There were numerous touching moments during the competition including a solo performance by Cherie Yamane of the KANANI KALAMA HULA HALAU. Due to a recalculation in points, she was recognized as the official winner for the Pakahi-Wahine division. In recognition of the dancer, she was asked to perform her rendition of Ka Poli Lau`ue Ka`u Aloha. In a beautiful holoku`u she dance with the grace that befits the traditional `Auana style. As she flowed to the movements of the mele, her many stranded lei pikake suddenly fell to the floor. Without missing a step she continued to follow the movements of her hands, and then her Kumu, Kanani Kalama, came from out of the musician's corner to present Cherie with her lei. What a sight, tears were flowing from the audience. To witness such love and aloha from a Kumu to a beloved haumana was beautiful. Cherie ended her dance with cheers and shouts of joy from the audience, as she had just shared her love for hula with all the deepest of feelings of aloha.

In another moving event, during the award ceremony, Na Kumu were asked to come forward and dance to Lei Nani and I Ali`i No `Oe. As the dance progressed, the judges joined in and unison danced with unique style and grace that honored them each as Kumu, Masters of the Hula. Kumu Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett came forward in his solid black tunic and slacks and danced barefooted to a cheering audience. His movements gestured with the flowing smoothness, his stature adding to his hula with a grace and style has become his trademark as a hula master. When all done, the rounds of applause drowned out Master of Ceremonies Charles Kauhiko`ako`a Ka`upu comment, “So now, you see, the Judges can dance after all!”

Judges

Hula - Frank Kawaiokapuokalani Hewett
Time - Les Pang
Lei - Bill Char
Hula - George Holokai
Hula - Hoakalei Kamau`u
Language - Kalani Akana
Lei - Euphemia Nagashima

Of course, how could we forget the dance that is rocking the entire world, including the E Hula Mau competition? You know it, it's the Macarena. As soon as the music boomed out, people from the audience moved to the auditorium floor to dance in synchronized movements to this Cuban dance. This scene appeared almost in Deja Vu, as last year, people came to the floor to dance to a Jawaiian beat that created itself into what looked like a long Mo`o crawling across the auditorium floor. As always, it was enjoyable to see the Security Guards loosen up and get into the Hawaiian mood of “hanging loose”. Even those who didn't know the hand motions, soon learned it from watching the hundred other people on the floor, as well as the other hundreds of people ion the audience standing by their seats dancing to the beat. What a sight! It makes one miss those great Rainbow Games at Aloha Stadium.

Last year's event also told of the goodness of the heart and the living spirit of aloha. One halau had their leis flown in from Hawai`i, and when they arrived, the flowers were wilted and unfit for use in a competition. On witnessing this, another Kumu offered the leis of his halau to adorn the haumana so that they could compete. That was last year, and the same scenario happened again this year. But, this year we were able to come across the beautiful Kumu and her husband who were on the giving end of this story. Their names are Kumu Kehaulani Wilson, Kimo Wilson and their halau NAPUA ILIMA `O KAHAULANI of San Diego. Last year they came to the competition with an eye on possibly competing for this year's competition based on the results of what they saw. Not letting them down, last year's competition was enough to send them into an immediate fundraising campaign to get their halau into this year's E HULA MAU competition. Kumu Wilson was thrilled to share company with the other Halau, and commented that “This is like home!” In her excitement, she told of her experience at this year's competition and the wonderful spirit of aloha in sharing of their leis with Aunty Barbara Finneran's halau. Their leis had arrived, but were not in decent condition due to the long transport from Hawaii to California. Kumu Finneran was in a bind, and would have to pull out of the competition. Within hearing distance was Kumu Wilson who offered her girl's leis, and amazingly each halau had exactly twelve girls competing. E Akua, Mahalo Nui Loa!

Kumu Wilson and her husband feel blessed that they were given such a wonderful Halau, their Ohana, and the strong support that they receive from each of their haumana. “It takes tremendous dedication on behalf of each member of the halau, and the out come of that dedication is their personal commitment to do the best they can when they compete,” said Kumu Wilson. She also added that this hold true for all who compete. Mr. Wilson described it as “proudest feeling” to see each haumana dance with their heart, and then to know that they had done their best when they collapse and share their tears of joy at the end of the performance.

Dean Chow, President of Na Mamo, felt that “the event went very smoothly; people working to make this event happen had `good feelings', and having happy workers made it all worth it.” In fact, as the volunteers and members wrapped up the three-day event at midnight, volunteers were still coming up to Dean to thank him and Na Mamo for allowing them to volunteer. As farewells were being said, Charley Ka'opu expressed his feeling of aloha for Na Mamo with tears in his eyes. Dean commented that this feeling of aloha was felt not only by Charley Ka`opu, but also by the Judges Aunty Hoakalei Kamau`u, Uncle George Holokai, Frank Hewett, and Puakea Negelmeier. It was not only aloha, but a feeling of enjoyment and bonding as a family that brought these wonderful people together. Dean felt that E HULA MAU offered these talented people to really do what they wanted to do, and he feels that “they are the guiding force for E HULA MAU through the use of their knowledge and information.” Na Mamo consulted them in various aspects of the competition, and as in traditional Hawaiian style listened to the wisdom of the Kapuna elders.

Comments from volunteer Billy Wing, who is a repeat volunteer from last year's competition, were all complementary. His duties were to coordinate the Na Mamo food booth for the three day competition. Their booth had the traditional Hawaiian delicacies of musubi, royal steamed peanuts, manapua, shave ice and malasadas. This year's food court was open to the public, and all the food vendors felt that they were able to share their foods to more people this year. Although the level of security had to be increased due to this change, all went well with no major problems. “Lots of the snags were ironed out last year, and better planning for this year” helped create the satisfactory outcome for everyone. Of course, all the foods were ONOLICIOUS! His estimation of the attendance at the event was “close to three thousand” and with that remarkable figure he added that the feeling of being a Hawaiian was evident. To Billy, and likely others being Hawaiian means having “lots of caring for people and having a regard for fellow man, and to help a fellowman in time of need.” Let us all LIVE ALOHA!

Outside of the Bren Auditorium, the Hawaiian vendors were busy “talking story,” sharing hugs and laughter. One of the vendors with a special gift is Photographer Randy Jay Braun. He is humble. He is funny. Most of all he is a Hauoli, with a Hawaiian heart. He came to Hawai`i from Kansas with an interest in looking at a culture that “ was different from mine.” He has succeeded in that endeavor, as he has with grasping living the lifestyle in Hawai`i. While on his honeymoon in Hawai`i with his Anne, he was laid off of his job and subsequently made a decision that would change his life forever. He and his new wife decided to start a business as a photographer in Hawai`i, and gave themselves a time line of a year to develop this goal. Randy humbly says that he did “OK”. With eight employees, he is considered to be more than OK, but longs for the time to do the creative things he enjoys; perhaps, photographing North American Indians, Eskimos, and doing a photo journal of these people. He directly contributes his success to the friends he has met in Hawai`i, his Kumu Charles Kauhiko`ako`a Ka`upu, his live of Hula, and his love of the Hawaiian culture.

His earliest recollections of his taste of Hawai`i came about during his college years and his first enrollment in the Explorations project at Kamehameha Schools. It was after that first encounter that he knew he could make a living in Hawai`i, and he constantly feels challenged to be creative in his art form while having the essence of the subject come through. His description of his work is captured by the qualities of “spirituality, sensuality, romanticism, balanced nature, and authenticity” of the subject. His most recent enjoyment is calling him towards things more spiritual. In fact, his best seller is of a Hawaiian Hula dancer praying to the heavens (Pule Ho`opomaikai`i). However, his subjects are usually from the halaus that he shares friendships with, and if you will remember one of his most famous older photographs is that of Keali`i Reichel poised on a Hawaiian Cliff, or the beautiful children dressed in their hula attire.

As previously mentioned, his Kumu is well known throughout Hawai`i as a Master Orator in Hawaiian Language and Chant. He is also a Kumu to the Mau'i Nui O Kama. Together the Halau went to the Marquis Islands to participate in the traditional welcome of the Hokulei`a. They spent two weeks in assisting their Kumu in preparing the area, and bestowing prayers of safe travel and high winds for the Holulei`a's continued voyage. Needless to say, Randy and the other Haumana felt honored to have helped in this auspicious event.

And as the sun began setting in Kaleponi with the closure of the second annual E Hula Mau competition, Randy continued to chat with the endless stream of Hula dancers who came to wish him aloha, with a kiss and a hug, and several “See you at the Party, eh Randy?” It was a wonderful event, full of life and love for the Hula, and ALOHA FO EVA and EVA.........E HULA MAU 1996!

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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

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