For the latest and best in Hawaiian music, check out the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts site for the Na Hoku Hanohano awards – the best in the music of Hawai’i.
Hula Kahiko, one of the pillars of Hawaiian culture and storytelling, is an easily recognizable dance style accompanied with percussion by pahu (drum), ipu (gourd), and/or by chanting. More contemporary versions of the art form, Hula ʻAuana, includes musical accompaniment with guitar, ukulele, bass, piano and other Western instruments.
Hula is perpetuated and celebrated through numerous annual competitions and celebrations. Here are some of my favorites.
The Merrie Monarch Festival is a non-profit organization that honors the legacy left by King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of our traditions, native language and the arts. The week-long festival features an internationally acclaimed hula competition, a crafts fair, an art show, hula shows, and a grand parade through Hilo town.
Honoring Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarch, this festival features youngsters ages 6 to 12 and is now one of the premiere hula events held annually in Hawaiʻi.
The largest non-competitive hula event in Hawaiʻi, the festival is held each year to honor Prince Lot Kapuaʻiwa who, as King Kamehameha V, revived the once banned hula.
King Kamehameha Hula Competition
This international hula competition includes both traditional and contemporary hula styles, featuring male groups, female groups, individual chanters, and Kupuna Wahine (senior women) groups. A colorful event steeped in the culture of the indigenous Hawaiian people, now embraced by people around the world. Past participants have come from Canada, Japan, Mexico, California, Nevada, Texas and Hawai’i.
Hula Preservation Society was established in 2000 and grew out of an earnest desire to honor our eldest living hula masters and hear their manaʻo on this cornerstone of our culture beloved by hundreds of thousands worldwide. It is a premiere source of hula history, research and information.