Ka Leo O Ka Uluau: Bruce Torres Fischer and Hualani Loo

A new podcast about the traditional moku or districts of Hawaiʻi Island, hosted by a University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo alumna and a Hawaiʻi Community College instructor, launched in January. Bruce Torres Fischer, a graduate student in the Hawaiian language and literature program at UH Hilo is leading the production of the Ka Leo o ka Uluau 24-episode podcast series.

“I am so fortunate to work with a talented team in the recording studio that shares a love for this place we call Hawaiʻi,” said Fischer, an alumnus of both Hawaiʻi Community College and UH Hilo. “Working with them and hearing the reactions of listeners has shown me the great value of this project.”

Hualani Loo, associate director of UH Hilo Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, works with Fischer on production of the podcast series.

“The integration of Hawaiian culture and how it permeates throughout the college and the campus is something tangible and something that has captured my interest,” Fischer said.

Hoʻokamaʻāina to Hawaiʻi Island

The podcast name, Ka Leo o ka Uluau, honors a Hawaiian makani or wind of Hilo and the conveyance of voices and thought. To hoʻokamaʻāina or acquaint listeners to the moku of Hawaiʻi Island, listeners will join a huakaʻi or journey clockwise around the island, starting in Hilo and moving to Puna, Kaʻū, Kona, Kohala and Hāmākua.

Each podcast installment runs about 30 minutes and will feature storied places, histories, people, traditions and lessons through moʻolelo or stories told by community members with connections to those places. The first podcast of the series is now live on the project’s blog, Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Upcoming episodes will be published bi-monthly to podcast platforms on the 1st and 15th of each month. Additional resources such as images, maps and storyteller bios are also available on the podcast blog.

The podcast series is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center and hosted by Leilani DeMello, an alumna of UH Hilo working for a Native Hawaiian social enterprise in Hilo, and Drew Kapp, a geography instructor at Hawaiʻi CC. The first episode sets the stage and begins exploration in Hilo.

Creative delivery

The project is another creative way for the university to deliver educational programs despite the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. The Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center created the hoʻokamaʻāina orientation for new faculty and staff in collaboration with the Hanakahi Council about 10 years ago that included a huakaʻi to wahipana (storied places) around Hilo. The program is considered extremely important for an Indigenous-serving university such as UH Hilo.

Fischer said, “Even if a handful of people experience a spark of interest that grows into a deeper connection to the land and Hawaiian culture, I will be very happy.”

For more, see UH Hilo Stories.

—By Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories