Nānā I Ke Kumu is a program that features Artists in Residence and an interactive Cultural Workshop Series that are led by notable Native Hawaiian master artists and cultural practitioners.
KALANI AKANA, Ph.D
Bio: Dr. Kalani Akana is a Kumu Hula, an ʻuniki graduate of Ka Pā Hula Hawaiʻi under Kahaʻi Topolinski. He continues to teach students the art of oli (chant) as learned from his aunt, Hoʻoulu Richards, Nona Beamer, Kalena Silva, and Edith McKinzie.
He has mentored students in oli and hei (string figures) as a master teacher under the State Foundation of Culture and Arts. His Ph.D dissertation in Curriculum Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi concentrated on revitalizing language and culture through performances such as hei.
His research was published in Indigenous Voices Research, Hūlili VIII: Multidisciplinary research on Hawaiian well-being and others. He studied painting with Master Artist and MAMo award recipient, Joe Hauʻoli Dowson, and continues to write poetry which has appeared in Tinfish, ʻŌiwi Journal, Bamboo Ridge and Mai Paʻa I Ka Leo.
ROBERT ULUWEHI CAZIMERO
Artist Statement: “Nothing happens by accident. I was meant to be taught by Ma‘iki Aiu Lake. And above all I know this to be truer than true…hula is life, every aspect of it, and we all can be made better for daring to dance.”
Bio: Award winning composer, arranger, singer, recording artist, director, choreographer, choral director, USA Ford Fellow of Music, and Hawaiian kumu hula, Robert Uluwehionāpuaikawekiuokalani Cazimero was born in Honolulu to parents Elizabeth Kapeka Meheula and William Kaʻaihue Cazimero, Sr., and was third youngest of a family of twelve children…only his sibling twins, Kanoe and Roland, were younger.
Robert was raised in a musical family. Robert and Roland both played with their parents, with sister, Kanoe, as a featured hula dancer. Robert and Roland joined Peter Moon in 1969 as “Sunday Mānoa,” and the pair formed as the award-winning “The Brothers Cazimero” in 1977.
Robert’s hula career began when he met his kumu, Maiki Aiu Lake, while a student at Kamehameha Schools. Robert was part of Aiu’s largest, and possibly most famous, 1973 ʻUniki Lehua class. It is during this time that Robert embraced his kumu and her mantra, “Hula Is Life.”
Bio: Moses Goods is one of Hawaiʻi’s most prominent theatre artists. Originally from the island of Maui and now based in Honolulu he has traveled nationally and internationally performing his original work to a wide range of audiences. His body of work ranges from full length plays to theatrical storytelling pieces most of which are strongly rooted in Native Hawaiian culture.
Currently his one-man show DUKE is touring throughout the Hawaiian Islands as well as the Continental U.S. Originally produced by Honolulu Theatre for Youth, DUKE is an unforgettable portrayal the life of Olympic gold medalist and father of modern surfing Duke Paoa Kahanamoku.
Moses is also the founder and artistic director of ʻInamona Theatre Company, an organization dedicated to reintroducing the native stories of Hawaiʻi to the community. ʻInamona is a traditional Hawaiian relish made from the roasted kernel of the kukui (candlenut). It is sprinkled sparingly over mea ʻai (nourishing food) to gently enhance the natural flavor. Moses believes that no matter how skilled the storyteller, his (or her) work is merely a condiment to the greater sustenance. The true “mea ʻai” are the stories that have come before us, the stories of our ancestors.
MICHAEL KAWIKA LUM
Bio: Kawika Lum, born 1976, is a hulu (feather) artist from Pūpūkea, Oʻahu. He started learning lei hulu from Paulette Kahalepuna in 1997 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. While at the Univeristy of Hawaiʻi, he studied Natural Enviroment and Fiber Arts within the Hawaiian Studies program, and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in 2001. Kawika’s fiber arts teacher at the university was 2013 MAMo Awardee, Maile Andrade.
Kawika has been an active artist participant in MAMo: Maoli Arts Movement since 2012, and in 2013, was awarded a Master’s Apprenticeship through the Hawaiʻi State State Foundation in the Culture and the Arts with his hulu master, Paullette Kahalepuna (2014 MAMo Awardee, and 2014 ʻŌʻō Awards Recepient). Under this apprenticeship with Paullette, Kawika studied Hawaiian feather work in the forms of lei (adornment), kahili (feather standard), ahuʻula (cape), and mahiʻole (helmets). He also studied works from traditional materials, and how to use, cultivate, and preserve these materials.
While respecting and using the traditional materials, he also uses modern materials with traditional practices to create contemporary art pieces.
NĀ KAMALEI O LĪLĪLEHUA
Artist Statement: “Hula is the art of Hawaiian dance, expressing everything we hear, see, smell, taste, touch and feel. Hula is life.” -Maiki Aiu Lake
Bio: The understanding of hula lineage, the actual tracing of a dancer’s history, is an important concept engrained in all members of Hälau Nä Kamalei by Robert Cazimero. It was in 1966 that he himself was introduced to the woman who would eventually teach him in the ways of hula. Ma‘iki Aiu Lake was a prolific teacher of hula, with the desire that each person express all they hear, see, smell, taste, touch and feel through this form of dance…in other words, she taught hula is life.
In 1975 Cazimero; and his hula brother, Wayne Y. Chang; formed a dancing group, Hālau Nā Kamalei O Līlīlehua, that started with six young Hawaiian men. Dedicating his energy to the vanishing tradition of male hula, Hālau Nā Kamalei has inspired hundreds of men to perpetuate the traditional Hawaiian dance form. Hālau Nā Kamalei is one of Hawaiʻi’s most highly respected male hālau, and are also noted as vocalists, releasing their debut CD, “RCHNK” in 2000. They have won critical acclaim and awards at the annual Merrie Monarch Festival Competition, the world’s largest Hawaiian hula competition, choosing to participate every ten years. It’s sweeping win at Merrie Monarch in 2005 was featured in the PBS special, “Nā Kamalei: Men of Hula.
The gents of Nā Kamalei have performed around the world, from the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York to stages in Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle.
WILLIAM KEOUA NELSEN
Artist Statement: “In my hands…I see my grandmother’s hands.
In my hands I see my past – my grandmother, her sisters, her mother, her mother’s mother and so on – my ancestors; it is they who inspire me and fuel my creativity.
I create contemporary and functional woven pieces of the hala leaf from the pūhala (screwpine pandanus tree) that have since died. I incorporate styles that are timeless yet push the boundaries of the customary while continuing to perpetuate traditional practices of weaving items such as purses, mats, and hats – not being limited to what once was where styling is concerned.
I believe that our kūpuna were visionary when using resources available for the preparation of materials, as well as looking at contemporary and popular styling of the time. While important to be rooted in tradition, I also feel that the practices have become complacent for the sake of maintaining traditions. To draw a greater interest in the young, the practice must evolve in order for the craft to survive.
Currently, I experiment with styling of the hats – reviving styles of yesteryear with a modern flair. I incorporate weaving techniques, both traditional and those learned from our Maori cousins, and creative styling to bring to life appropriate yet timeless functional pieces of wearable art.
I bridge the gap between customary and traditional practices of my kūpuna to modern contemporary times.
In my hands I know my past, my history, my genealogy!
I am #ALegacyWeaver.”
Bio: Keoua Nelson grew up in Napoʻopoʻo, South Kona on the hores of Kealakekua Bay and comes from a long line of lauhala weavers from Kona; both of his great-grandmothers, Lucy Keliʻihelewalemahuna (Kaʻalekahi) Grace and Gracey Kaleihulumamo (Grace) Gaspar, learned their skills from their mothers. While the women in the famiyl were relegated to weaving the lauhala products, it was the men in the family who were tasked with caring, cleaning and preparing leaves from the pū hala.
Keoua’s grandmother tells of stories of how her mother would prepare the pā of the hats each night and it was the children’s kuleana to finish one hat before going out to play each day. They did this so they could barter for food and fabric to sew dresses. She remembered a Chinese man coming by once a week to purchase hats to send to his brother’s shop in San Francisco.
As a teenager, Keoua’s maternal grandmother, Lilian Alepoki (Grace) Nelson, tried to teach Keoua those skills that were passed down. As hard as she tried, Keoua could never understand the concepts and in his words was “all thumbs”. So, he felt that it was his duty to collect and prepare the hala for his grandmother and grand-aunts who wove daily.
It wasn’t until Keoua started learning his ʻōlelo makuahine tht he realized that it was his responsibility to perpetuate those skills that his kūpuna possessed lest they be lost. Unfortunately it was too late to learn from his grand-mother as her hands were not as nimble and her eyesight slowly faded.
In 2008, Keoua took his first weaving class from Gwen Kamisugi and Lorna Pacheco, both students of Aunty Gladys Grace. As he began to weave more, Keoua began to realize that he had a natural propensity for weaving and at times felt that his kūpuna were channeling and transferring their skills. Later that year, he learned to weave his first pāpale lauhala from Aunty Gladys Grace.
Keoua’s mission is to continue to learn all that there is to learn regarding weaving lauhala and other natural fibers and considers himself luck y to have shuch great kumu as Auny Gladys, Aunty Gwen, Aunty Lorna and Pohaku Kahoʻohanohano. While he is unable to learn from his grandmother, it is as if he learned from her through Aunty Gladys.
Keoua states, “it makes me very happy to see the joy in my grandmother’s eyes when I share the pieces that I have woven with her. We now talk a different language, a lauhala weaver’s language, when she offers her advice or new techniqes to consider. While her hands are not able to teach, she is quick to scold when I am not doing something correct or to point out an error.”
PUA ALIʻI LEHUA
Cultural Workshop Series
The Nānā I Ke Kumu cultural workshop series features Native Hawaiian master artists and cultural practitioners leading interactive workshops in areas including: