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Hula performance by The Halau 'O Kekuhi hula ensemble from the Big Island of Hawai'i

To purchase "Musics of Hawai'i: Anthology of Hawaiian Music - Special Festival Edition", please visit the Smithsonian Folkways website.

Hula, a dance that tells a story, has always been a focal point of Hawaiian culture. It is performed to mele (chants) accompanied by percussion instruments. Mele and hula were used to record thousands of years of ancient Polynesian and Hawaiian history. Chants and dances also recorded the daily life of the Hawaiian people, their love of the land, humor or tragedy, and the heroic character of their leaders. The Halau 'O Kekuhi hula ensemble draws many of its dances from the mele of the Big Island, particularly chants to Pele, the volcano goddess. They are led by Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele and Nalani Kanaka'ole, sisters of the highly respected Kanaka'ole family of chanters and dancers from Hilo.