Hilo

About

Hilo is the largest settlement and census-designated place in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 40,759 at the 2000 census. The population increased by 6.1% to 43,263 at the 2010 census.

Hilo is the county seat of the County of Hawaiʻi and is located in the District of South Hilo. The town overlooks Hilo Bay, situated upon two shield volcanoes; Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The majority of human settlement in Hilo stretches from Hilo Bay to Waiākea-Uka, on the flanks of Mauna Loa.

Hilo is home to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula which takes place annually after Easter. Hilo is also home to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the world's leading producers of macadamia nuts. It is served by Hilo International Airport.

The Merrie Monarch journey: Hulali ‘Opiopio

Summit invited hula haumana (student) Hulali ‘Ōpiopio to share a little about her journey in preparing for the 2017 Merrie Monarch festival.

Summit (S): What is your favorite thing about preparing for Merrie Monarch?

Hulali ‘Ōpiopio (HO): My favorite thing about preparing for Merrie Monarch would be getting the chance to build stronger relationships with my hula sisters/brothers and learning how to be a vessel to embody the vision that my kumu has chosen to present.

S: In the time leading up to Merrie Monarch, how does your lifestyle change to prepare for the competition?

HO: In the time leading up to Merrie Monarch, many things in our everyday life need to change to help us focus and prepare so we can offer the cleanest hookupu we are able to. In order to do this, our kumu places certain kapu upon us in succession to prepare us.

S: What kinds of personal sacrifices do you make to prepare for Merrie Monarch?

HO: In preparing for Merrie Monarch there are lots of sacrifices made by everyone involved. I think for me, the ultimate sacrifice is time spent with my family but I am lucky to have the most amazing support system at home.

S: How do you personally connect to the mele, hula, oli or anything else about the performance?

HO: In our hālau, we are lucky to visit and experience the places we dance about. This year we are fortunate enough to know all of our haku mele personally, which also allows us to connect to the mele and hula on a deeper level.

S: How does Merrie Monarch inspire you to be a better hula dancer?

HO: Merrie Monarch is a way for us as dancers to elevate our hula in preparation for things such as ceremony.

The Merrie Monarch journey: Matthew Solomon

Summit invited hula haumana (student) Matthew Miki‘ala "Sol" Solomon to share a little about his journey in preparing for the 2017 Merrie Monarch festival.

Summit (S): What is your favorite thing about preparing for Merrie Monarch?

Matthew Solomon (MS): Many things encompass the joy that comes with Merrie Monarch prep. From giving old oli/mele new life and reliving experiences at these ancient and beloved places in which many of the names only exist in the poetry. Rediscovering these place names is always intriguing to me. Recalling these place names and the events that were happening at the time the composition was written allows you to create an idea of how we lived back then. It’s remarkably exciting.

S: In the time leading up to Merrie Monarch, how does your lifestyle change to prepare for the competition?

MS: I wouldn’t say my lifestyle changes so much as my agenda and diet do. Of course, it takes many hours of commitment and training leading up to competition. Also, I try to have a more balanced diet for the sake of health and fitness and the ability to physically dance my best.

S: How do you personally connect to the mele, hula, oli, or anything else about the performance?

MS: Studying and researching what I can, utilizing several different resources to gain insight to what it is we’re speaking of and personally creating a connection as to why this is significant to you. Hula, as Hawaiians, is our duty. Therefore, any oli/mele I feel inclined to connect with.

S: How does Merrie Monarch inspire you to be a better hula dancer?

MS: There are many hula competitions today, not just in Hawai‘i. But the Merrie Monarch upholds the highest of standards.

S: What does Merrie Monarch mean to you?

MS: It's a completely necessary platform to not only showcase, but preserve our many lines of hula. Hula is something so very significant to the people of Hawai‘i, and something that we were once in danger of being forced to forget.

No ka leo oli: modes of delivery in Hawaiian chanting


For the observant listener, the style in which an oli, or a Hawaiian chant, is delivered can really impact the mana‘o (meaning) of the oli itself. The delivery style can depend on the type of oli it is. For example, here we explored different types of oli and below we explore what styles of delivery may convey the message of the oli most effectively.

An olioli style of delivery employs a pitch and melody that usually repeats throughout the mele. The melodic switch between various tones may be considered decorative, adding to the mele what Amy Stillman calls “sonic interest.” In an olioli style of delivery, listen for ‘i‘i (vibrato), when the chanter’s leo (voice) seems to tremble or trill in certain places. This style may be employed to deliver a mele inoa, or a name chant.

Another style of delivery is kepakepa. Kepakepa style is marked by concise, conversational vocalization of the ‘ōlelo. This style may be identified when the chanter appears to simply be reciting speech. Possibly because of its clarity, this style may be ideal for deliviering mele koihonua, or genealogical chants, in a way that may prioritize the names and other content within the words of the mele.

Ho‘ouēuē (or ho‘ouwēuwē) literally means to wail or to mourn. This style of delivery is probably most easily identified by the intensity of the emotion and grief of the deliverer. This style of chanting may be employed after the death of ali‘i or during funeral processions. This delivery style is appropriate for kanikau, or death chants and dirges, for its powerful and mournful impact.



Check our FB during the 2017 #MerrieMonarch performances for opportunities to test your #hula knowledge. (Hint: reading our posts will help!)

A colorful celebration of Hawaiian language resurgence and legendary wordplay
808 Urban's Living Legacy mural series honors the 30th anniversary of Hawaiian Immersion Education with its “Ke Kanakolu” project read
Transmitting hula knowledge: currency and kuleana
Carrying an ancient tradition into the modern era read
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Summit is Hawaii's magazine of ideas and style for the global citizen. We're named for Queen Kapiolani's motto, "kulia i ka nuu," strive for the summit. Summit is available on fine newsstands throughout North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

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