The first episode of Ke Ao Mālamalama o Ka Hula (the enlightenment of the hula), a groundbreaking project featuring some of Hawaiʻi’s legendary kumu hula, premieres on Sunday, February 6, available from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. on Windward Community College’s Facebook page.

Intimate talk story and panel discussions hosted by renowned songwriter, kumu hula and Windward CC Hawaiian Studies Lecturer Kawaikapuokalani Frank Hewett, offer a deeper understanding and appreciation for the traditional ways of learning hula and “becoming” a kumu hula.

2 people talking
Kawaikapuokalani Hewett with Maelia Loebenstein-Carter

“The stories of the hula are told by the people who dedicated themselves to the hula, that come from lineages and longstanding traditions of the hula…that continue to perpetuate the hula,” Hewett said.

The February 6 episode features Coline Kaualoku Aiu, former Miss Hawaiʻi and kumu hula for the Halau Hula O Maiki, which was started by her mother and beloved kumu hula Maiki Aiu Lake.

Future interviewees include Robert Cazimero, Maelia Loebenstein-Carter, Leialoha Lim-Amina, Leimomi Ho and Vicky Holt-Takamine, with more to come. The historic interviews will be housed in the Windward CC library and offered free to the public.

Hewett said, “The intent of the project is to build a strong relationship between the community and the college for a lifetime of learning and understanding the arts, the tradition and the culture of Hawaiʻi founded on mālamalama, respect and honor.”

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Kawaikapuokalani Hewett interviews Coline Kaualoku Aiu

Hewett was inspired by the stories and photos of kumu hula featured in the 1984 book Nānā i Nā Loea Hula: Look to the Hula Resources, which includes many of his interviewees and himself as a young kumu hula. Photos from the book by Shuzo Uemoto can be seen along the second floor lobby walls at Windward CC’s Palikū Theatre.

Ke Ao Mālamalama o Ka Hula is co-sponsored by The Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation.

To learn more about Ke Ao Mālamalama o Ka Hula, email camvel@hawaii.edu or visit the campus library in Hale Laʻakea.

By Bonnie Beatson