Hawaii Tribune-Herald Sunday, April 16, 2017 19 2017 Merrie Monarch Festival like the olden days. I found this book about Hawaiian fashion in the past — McInerny’s, Watamull’s. And the cover of the book has the sarong I’m going to use. And it’s like, wow!” The men seek to enhance their enviable Merrie Monarch track record when they take the stage Friday for hula kahiko and Saturday for hula ‘auana. Kahikilaulani will have a young, small but mostly experienced group of kane dancers, eight for kahiko and seven for ‘auana, one of whom is 13, the youngest age allowed for a Merrie Monarch competition dancer. Gaspang said the men’s kahiko mele, like the women’s, is a Big Island chant honoring Kalakaua. It is to honor Fonseca, as well, who brought the dance to the Merrie Monarch in the mid-1980s. “I decided to bring it back with the ‘ulu‘uli,” Gaspang said. “My boys went to Kohala to learn about a place in their mele. Lorna Lim (of the legendary Kohala music and hula family) took them to share her mana‘o on the place. “All the people who shared their mana‘o with us, I think that’s the beauty of it. We’re learning not only the mele, but the island that we live on, to know every part of the island.” The kane ‘auana is “Pua Kukui,” a song credited to Mekia Kealakai contained in Johnny Noble’s “Collection of Ancient and Modern Hawaiian Hulas.” Gabby Pahinui recorded the song twice, first with the Sons of Hawaii, with a more contemporary take on the “Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band Volume 2” album. The kaona (metaphoric subtext) of the lyric is of a lover as a cowboy on horseback using his lariat to lasso his budding kukui blossom’s fluttering heart. “It’s a kolohe (rascal) number and my boys do well with kolohe numbers,” Gaspang said. “So when I read the mele, I went, ‘Oh, boy, here we go again.’ And they’re kind of excited to do it.” The Kahikilaulani men are, in Gaspang’s words, “gung ho.” Their performances have the polish that comes with experience and the swagger that comes with recognition. “I always tell our students Best Wishes to All Merrie Monarch Contestants! AUTHORIZED DEALER 8089359029 456-a Kekuanaoa St. Hilo HI 96720 The world’s fi rst intelligent all-in-one solar system COMING TO HAWAII! HAWAII, PHILIPPINES, GUAM & AMERICAN SAMOA Proud to be the Offi cial Electric Contractor for the past 34 years! it’s not about winning. It’s about showing what our legacy’s all about. You win, you win, you’ve tried. You lose, you lose, you’ve tried. That’s not why we learn hula. We learn hula because that’s our culture; that’s who we are.” Email John Burnett at jburnett@ hawaiitribune-herald.com. RISING From page 18 HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Halau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani dancers perform their auana routine during the 2016 Merrie Monarch Festival.
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