‘Imiloa Hosting Three Days of Hawaiian Cultural Programming

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‘Imiloa Astronomy Center invites the public to participate in three days of Hawaiian culture enrichment programming from Wednesday, April 19, to Friday, April 21, in celebration of the 54th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival. The annual series is organized at the local astronomy center to complement the Merrie Monarch’s effort to preserve, promote and perpetuate the art of hula and Hawaiian culture through education.

The ‘Imiloa program will include storytelling through hula and chant by Hālau o Kekuhi, and live music by Grammy Award Winner Kalani Pe‘a. There will also be an Oli Workshop diving into the traditions of oral storytelling led by Kumu Hula Mehanaokalā Hind, and much more!

Pre-sale tickets for each ‘Imiloa program are $10 ($8 for ‘Imiloa members) and can be purchased at ‘Imiloa’s front desk, or by calling (808) 932-8901. Pre-sale tickets are available for purchase beginning Tuesday, April 4, at 9 a.m. A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase on the day of each event for $15.

Here are the scheduled Hawaiian enrichment programs happening at `Imiloa Astronomy Center from April 19 to 21:


Wednesday, April 19:

  • 10 a.m. – Oli Workshop with Kumu Hula Mehanaokalā Hind: Hind will share mele aloha ‘āina that showcase Hawaiian stories illustrating the origin and connection to the land. Hind is a Kumu Hula and cultural practitioner skilled in hula and oli. She descends from the hula lineage of Kumu Hula Leinaʻala Kalama Heine and has been trained in mele oli by some of Hawaiʻi’s master chanters.
  • 1 p.m. – Film screening of Nā Hulu Lehua: The Royal Cloak and Helmet of Kalaniʻōpuʻu: This documentary film shares the historic story of Kalaniʻōpuʻu, the aliʻi nui (or high chief) of Hawaiʻi Island, who greeted Captain James Cook when he arrived at Kealakekua Bay in 1779 with his treasured ‘ahu ‘ula (feathered cloak) as a gesture of goodwill. While Cook himself would never leave Hawai‘i, Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s feathered cape and mahiole (feathered helmet) sailed back to Europe with Cook’s crew, and ultimately ended up at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Over 230 years later, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Bishop Museum, Te Papa, and Hawaiian Airlines have collaborated to enable the return of Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s priceless garments to Hawaiʻi. Hind, who participated in the returning of Kalaniōpuʻu’s cape, will lead the screening with a Q&A to follow.  

Thursday, April 20:

  • 10 a.m. – Live music by Hilo’s Lito Arkangel: Join Arkangel as he shares mele from his two albums, Me ke aloha (2014) and Kuʻupau (2017), along with the special stories that connect him to these mele (song). He spent much of his youth growing up in Keaukaha with ‘ohana who guided him through the many facets of Hawaiian culture. Now he continues to perpetuate Hawaiian music and culture as a teacher, mentor and professional musician.
  • 1 p.m. – An afternoon of hula and costume presentation by Hālau o Kekuhi: Join Hālau o Kekuhi as they perform hula and lead a conversation that explores the dancer’s kuleana (responsibility) to create a unique environment through detailed chant, motion and intentional costuming.

Friday, April 21:

  • 10 a.m. – He leo aloha: Start off Friday morning with a presentation on the language and story in the Kealopiko design process. “Figuring out how we articulate the many voices of the past and present in story and design forms the core of what we do and is an ever-changing process that continually educates us as founders,” says co-founders Jamie Makasobe and Hina Kneubuhl. “As we grow, so does our process and the language we find and use to reconnect elements of the natural and cultural landscapes to our modern day existence.”
  • 1 p.m. – Live music by 2017 Grammy Award Winner, Singer/Songwriter Kalani Pe‘a: Join Kalani Pe‘a as he presents mele from his award-winning album and shares his passion for perpetuating the Hawaiian language through music and visual arts. His debut album E Walea features seven haku mele (Hawaiian original music compositions) and five of his favorite covers. E Walea hit number 1 on the iTunes world music charts, and in August of 2016 it hit number 12 on the Billboard world albums charts. In February of 2017 the debut album took home the Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album.  Pe‘a is a Hilo native and currently resides on Maui.


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