In Hawaii, as throughout Polynesia, traditional dance is infused with the remarkable history and power of the people, telling their stories of love, genealogies, migrations, myths, customs and traditions. Two deep loves of the people of Hawaii — Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi, and the custom of making, giving and wearing flower lei — will be celebrated during the Beamer-Solomon Halau O Poohala “Eia Ka Hula V” hula drama March 8 at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea.
This is the fifth in a series of presentations exploring and sharing the 154-year hula and music legacy of the Beamer-Solomon family. Directing the show will be hula loea Hulali Solomon Covington with scripting and narration by halau historian Malama Solomon. Featured guest chanter and presenter will be kumu Keala Ching and providing musical accompaniment will be Russell Paio as lead musician, Kama Hopkins on guitar, Hai Kelly on bass and Covington on ukulele.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 presale; $25 at the door from 4:30 p.m. on performance day. For tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 938-6357 and leave a message.
Because the first half of the show honors Kauai’s native son, Prince Kuhio, the program will begin with a mele written by the late Alice Namakelua, called “My Hala Lei of Kauai.” The song’s literal translation describes Kauai “as an ancient hala lei that surrounds me” but the hidden or deeper meaning refers to Kuhio.
Kuhio, born in 1871, lived a storied life. He is best known for having been elected as the Territory of Hawaii’s second nonvoting member to the U.S. Congress. Despite having no vote, Kuhio was able to secure passage of the Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act in 1921 to preserve the culture and traditions of Native Hawaiians, promote self-sufficiency and provide low-cost farming land to Native Hawaiians of 50 percent blood quantum. For this achievement, he is honored throughout the state, including in Waimea where the Hawaiian Homes village and community hall are named after him.
Through mele and hula, the show will tell Kuhio’s story — from being adopted at the age of 10 into the childless royal family of King David Laamea Kalakaua and his aunt, Queen Kapiolani, to become one of the heirs of the Kalakaua dynasty. A brave man with extraordinary foresight, he helped found the Royal Order of Kamehameha in 1903 and the first Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu in 1918, both of which continue to provide community service.
The second half of the show will shift to more contemporary hula and music, beginning with a song by composer Charles E. King, “Lei Aloha Lei Makamae,” which describes and compares a lei and its fragrance to a person whom one admires and loves.
The dancers of the halau from keiki to kupuna will share the kaona of the lei as an adornment that helps the hula dancer remember the origin of hula and reminds the audience to give thanks for all the many natural wonders that enrich the world.
As the story continues, the sixth generation of the Beamer-Solomon hula legacy — Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon — will be featured. A University of Hawaii at Manoa sophomore, she will represent the halau in the Miss Aloha Hula Competition at this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival, and she, along with her hula sisters, will be entering Merrie Monarch 2014 in the wahine division.
Concluding the performance will be several dances that earned top honors for the halau during the eighth annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival in November. Featured mele are drawn from the Beamer-Solomon family’s musical legacy.
Before the performance begins and during intermission, refreshments will be available, including such favorites as Robert Covington’s paniolo smoked meat with deli bagels, musubi and soft drinks.
For information, call Covington at 938-6357.