Hilo’s Kauihealani Mahikoa Brandt, Jack Brandt, and Teitu Kameenui, 1960.

Hilo’s Huladynamic Kaui Brandt

A pencil sketch from the notebook of associate instructor Teitu Kameenui shows Kaui Brandt doing one of her Polynesian dances

“Hula entrepreneur instructor, troupe leader, featured dancer and vocalist, sometimes disc jockey, plus full-time wife and mother of two healthy children”—gives a fairly accurate thumbnail description of Hilo’s Kauihealani Mahikoa Brandt, better known as “Kaui.”

In partnership with her husband Jack, this vivacious hapa-Hawaiian has upended the Big Island’s hula business, punched and pulled much of it into a shape of her own design and presented malihini and kamaaina with a variety of Polynesian entertainment sparkling with color, excitement, speed and imagination

At 27, with some 14 years as student, amateur and professional performer, producer and instructor, Kaui stands near the top of her profession.

She hastens to point out that she has not reached her ultimate goal, but nevertheless, Kaui commands a position not usually enjoyed by so young a Kumu Hula (hula director). Continue reading

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Hoapili and Kiliwehi in New Zealand, 1866.

VISIT TO THE MAORI KING MATUTAERA.

The correspondent of the Southern Cross at Waiuku sends the  following description of a visit recently paid by him to the quarters of the Maori king Matutaera, in company with two visitors from the Sandwich Islands:— Continue reading

Ernest Kaai’s Hawaiian Troubadours in New Zealand, 1925.

AMUSEMENTS.

“NIGHT IN HONOLULU.”

The ukulele, the hula-hula, and the steel guitar, as entertaining products of Hawaii, are known all over the civilised world that comes under the influence of vaudeville circuits, but such segregated examples as have hitherto been shown in Auckland are mere museum specimens compared with the living actuality of the performance given in His Majesty’s Theatre on Saturday night by Ernest Kaai’s Hawaiian troubadours. These minstrels exhibited ukulele and guitar with all the sweet setting of their native haunts, the strains of the strings enriched by vocal harmonising in which the Hawaiian exccels, and the harmonising enhanced by quaint falsetto and yodelling effects that thoroughly delighted a house packed to the doors.

The curtain rose on a pretty palm-fringed beach scene, when it could be seen, for the house was in darkness when a harmonious chorus of Hawaiian voices, with stringed instrument accompaniment, was lifted in song to welcome the doming dawn. It was a native harmonising chorus set to music by Queen Liliuokalani, and entitled “Aloha Oe,” which swells to a paean of joy as the rising sun lights up the expectant world—in this case quite an effective stage scene. A similar characteristic effort of voice, strings, and light, symbolising twilight, with the stage fading melodiously into darkness, marked the ending of the first part of the programme, while in between dawn and twilight came a series of novel, interesting and thoroughly entertaining items. An Island folk-song by eddie Kniley, a ballad by Frank Luiz, hula dances by Gertila Byrnes and Layley Leywood, and a steel  guitar selection by Thelma Kaai were given with effective voice and string accompaniments. It was the part-singing in trios, however that most captivated the audience. One such number by David Kaili, Thelma Kaai and Eddie Kinley was emphatically encored, but when Queenie and David Kaili and Thelma Kaai appeared in whimsical part songs in which Queenie appeared as a soubrette of talent with a quaint gift for vocal ornamentation, the house was so vastly entertained and amused that the party were recalled four or five times. Continue reading

Hawaiian music in Aotearoa, 1925.

NEW ZEALAND IS JOYFUL WITH HAWAIIAN MUSIC.

A news item published in the newspaper Auckland Star on the 20th of April past described the enthusiasm of the people of New Zealand for Hawaiian songs, given at the concert held by Ernest Kaai and his band which is going around New Zealand.

When one of the concerts opened in the theater, the interior of the theater was decorated with greenery, and the theater was darkened, and when the music began, accompanied by the voices of the singers, it was as if the scene then was the coming of light at the break of dawn; and the audience held their breath when Aloha Oe was sung, as the instruments played along. Continue reading

Books to teach Maori English arrive, 1878.

Maori Books.

We return our hearty thanks to a Brother Editor of the New Zealand Press for some nice Maori books forwarded by last mail. They are destined for the instruction of the Maoris in the English language. The Maori title of one of these books is:—He Akoranga i te reo Ingarihi mo te kura Maori, or, “Lessons in the English Language for Maori Schools.” Published at Wellington “by authority” by George Didsbury, Government Printer. Continue reading