Hawaiinawa is a exciting new CD release from beloved Hawaiian musician Teresa Bright. This new concept CD was inspired by the Japanese love for the Hawaiian culture, music and hula. Hawiinawa also draws in the recent popularity of Okinawan music among Japan’s younger generation. Hawaiinawa brings these two cultures together and entwines Okinawan music with the sweet gentle language and sounds of Hawai’i. Hawaii and Okinawa have so many similiarities. They are island that were once independent kingdoms, rule by ancient chiefs who were overthrown by other nations. Okinawa and Hawaii also share two seasons, winter and summer and the same temperatures through the year. This is a unique and captivating collection of music and the cultures that is recorded in the Hawaiian language and arranged with the the Kiho’alu (slack key) tunings. It is all all flavored with the vocal style of Teresa Bright.
Nani Dudoit has been Ho‘okena’s “hula stylist” since 1986. She is a 1978 graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and a member of the hula halau, Na Pualei o Likolehua, under the direction of kumu hula Leina‘ala Kalama Heine for 25 years. In the early 80’s, she performed in the Brothers Cazimero show as one of the featured dancers of the Royal Dance Company at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Monarch Room. Nani has graced stages in New York City (Carnegie Hall), Australia and Japan. Nanai is married to Horrace from Ho’okena.
Hula dancing is the essence and spirit across the Pacific. Initially it was treated as a sacred ritual, but it slowly it has became a form of social entertainment. The dance is not without meaning. In fact, the heart of hula dancing is poetic text, which is referred to as Mele. All movements are interpreted and performed on the basis of the text. In hula dancing, hand and arm gestures are combined with rhythmic twisting and swirling. Each movement has a particular meaning and this coupled with the expressive hand gestures have even greater significance. While dancing, the movements that the dancers make may represent any facet of nature or life. Plants, trees, war, wind fire and water. All the elements are adequately represented and the viewer has no doubt in his mind as to the meanings are with each movement. This is because hula dancing by its movements embodies the essence of thing it represents. The dancers incorporate to exactitude the elements of life and nature and the chanting aids in narrating the story.
Initially in hula dancing, the emphasis was on the words only, but as many people do not understand tho early chants, this form of dancing has become more expressive and understandable. Interestingly enough, there are many types of hula dancing and these are performed at different times and in different ways. Hula hue was a kind of endurance dance used at the end of a program while hula hapa haole was a westernized version with English words. Hula hula pertained to a type of dancing where there were many people involved. Some sang and some played the drum.
Hula o Kalâkaua was dancing reserved for the King’s coronation. Hula kuhi Lima was a sitting hula where the dancer swayed the body in keeping with the music and made eloquent hand gestures. The modern day hula auana is very informal and there is no ceremony involved. It is danced to the accompaniment of instrument like the guitars and is very popular on the islands of Hawaii.
Whatever be the form of hula dancing, the essence and spirit of the dance is always felt. It has a strange impact on the viewers and often makes one want to join in. Hula dancing in spite of metamorphosis is here to stay. Its magnetic charm touches all who see. The origins of hula are open to interpretation. Some believe it came from the ancient civilization of Mu, some claim it was indigenous, while others say that it had its roots in Tahiti . Whatever be its origin or its roots, there is no doubt that the Hula is the link which binds the dancers with the universe and symbolizes their unity with all creation.
Matato’a is from Rapa Nui on Easter Island, Chile. Matato’a means “the watchful eye of the warrior” and they are the most famous musical & dance group from Rapa Nui. And Rapa Nui is the most isolated island in the world, lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Rapa Nui is famous for its giant & enigmatic stones known as the Moai. Matato’a is a family group formed in 1996 with the initiative of Kevamatato’a Atan. The principal motivation for Matato’a is to promote the ancestral traditions, dances, costumes, body paintings of their home on Rapa Nui. Matato’a uses the perfect fusion of modern & traditional instruments including stones, horse jaws & bombo. These instruments give a variety of different music & song styles that include Polynesian, Reggae, Latino & Rock. Matato’a also mixes their style with their modern & tradition costumes on stage. Matoto’a impress, attract & lead dances during each of their shows. You can find out more about Matato’a by visiting their personal website. Matato’a will tour in Hawaii and Europe in the fall of 2006
Nenes is a group of 4 women who sing Okinawan folk songs and perform on traditional instruments and in traditional Okinawan costumes. While Okinawa is today considered part of Japan, it has its own distinct culture. Okinawa is also a tropical island which many people enjoy visiting. Traditional Okinawan music is usually played on a 3-stringed instrument called a sanshin, which is similar to the Japanese shamisen and perhaps even related to the banjo. Okinawan music has a very syncopated rhythm which has been called “Japanese reggae”. Many people find the music has a very earthy and festive feel to it. The group Nenes was formed in 1990 by China Sadao, who brought together 4 musicians who had been performing separately. The group soon became surprisingly popular given that their music was well outside of the pop mainstream in Japan. Their independently released Ikawu CD sold well and the group signed to Sony. Ryuichi Sakamoto recorded with them and took them on a European tour, which brought them a much bigger following. Nene seems to aspire more to being cultural ambassadors rather than pop stars. Nenes plays a wide range of events and venues, including their residency at a club in Naha. The membership of Nenes changes from time to time, but the group remains very much dedicated to presenting the traditional sounds of Okinawa