Kanakaole herself, is a force of nature. She has won multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Awards – Hawaii’s highest musical honor – and has traveled the world performing. Her transcendent voice comes from one of Hawaii’s most esteemed lineages. Her great-grandmother, Edith Kanakaole was a pioneering leader during the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 60’s and 70’s. Her grandmother, Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele is a Ph.D and kumu hula (hula teacher). Her mother, Kekuhi Kanahele-Frias is also a Hoku award winning artist and educator.
Kanakaole calls herself a hula haka, or hula medium – the means in which hula moves through. This dance on the sleepy streets of Hilo isn’t for visitors. It isn’t for a competition. It’s a way for her to connect to her legacy, and more importantly, to this land.
“Hula is the constant rhythm that nature has. Hula is movement at its most primal.”
Hula is the constant rhythm that nature has. Hula is movement at its most primal. Is hula happening now, even when there's no one to dance it? Most certainly. Does hula require a human medium? No, it doesn't. But we're privileged enough in our very temporary lifespan to be able to engage in this hula, in this visceral and primal movement of the environment.
How do you define hula?
For the native, for the Kanaka Hawaii, hula is the bridge to our authenticity and our identity. And if we identify ourselves with our land base, then it's for the land. It's to facilitate that connection between the land and me, and to reaffirm my commitment as a native Hawaiian.
What does hula mean to native Hawaiians?
Oli is vocal or harmonic alchemy. It's the ability to manifest change in your environment. I'm just the medium. And hula and oli is what I know best.
How do you define oli?
“For the native, for the Kanaka Hawaii, hula is the bridge to our authenticity and our identity.”
Our job is to remind ourselves and remind anyone who treads on this land, through way of performance, of the energy that is required in order to maintain our home. And essentially, our identity.
As a native Hawaiian, what do you want hula to communicate?
When I'm in hula, and when hula is in me, and when I'm oli-ing, and the oli is in me, then I'm my most natural self. I know who I am. I just belong. I know what my purpose is. So, why do I get emotional about hula? Because the moment I don't, the moment that that isn't the reaction, then I'm lost.
What is your personal connection with the hula?
If there's a word of wisdom I could impart onto any visitor to Hawaii, it’s “intention.” Come with intention. Just be open. I think that if each and every visitor committed to checking their ego in at the visitor’s center and entered with mindfulness and complete awareness and no ego – only receiving – then I think you have a chance at witnessing Hawaii at its finest.
What is your advice to visitors who come to experience the culture of Hawaii?
Discover Hawaii and tour with one of our Interpretive Guides who will share a world of rain forests, waterfalls, cliff-side trails, rare birds, waterfalls and sunrises & sunsets atop Maunakea.
Explore a forbidden coastline formed by Mt. Haleakala's last eruption. Experience close encounters with protected green sea turtles, race across the waves searching for dolphins, and snorkel the crystal waters of the world-famous Molokini Crater.
If you can dream it, we can do it. Paradise Helicopters offers you the opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime while here in the islands. See volcanoes, waterfalls & more on our helicopter tours, exclusive landings and custom charters departing from Kona, Hilo and Turtle Bay Resort.
Immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of Hawaii’s marine life at Maui Ocean Center, The Aquarium of Hawaii. Encounter schooling reef fish, sharks, stingrays, turtles, and experience the world's first virtual encounter with Hawaii's humpback whales at the Humpbacks of Hawai`i Exhibit and Sphere.
We focus on the complete surfing experience. Lessons are available for beginning through advanced surfers with a special emphasis on safety and ocean awareness. Group and private surf lessons as well as specialized surf clinics.
Experience the thrill of ziplining on either of our 2 beautiful and unique Maui locations! Enjoy breathtaking views and thrilling zipline adventure in the rugged valleys above Ka’anapali or on the green slopes of Haleakala.
Kualoa is 4,000 acres of stunning tropical beauty offering a Jurassic Valley Zipline, ATVs, Raptor Tours, Boat tours, Hollywood Movie Site Tours, Food Tours as well as Horseback. If you've seen Jurassic World, you've seen Kualoa!
Holo Holo Charters is the only Kauai boat tour company that offers daily snorkeling and sightseeing trips to the Napali Coast and "Hawaii's Forbidden Island" of Niihau. Experience unique marine life while exploring sea caves, waterfalls, cliffs, beaches, and valleys. Call 808-335-0815 to learn more.
Maui Surf Lessons offers private surf lessons, stand up paddleboarding and surfing canoe tours on Maui
Kauai Hiking Tours offers day hikes, backpacking trips and driving tours on Kauai Island. Our local guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge with aloha. We welcome adventurers of all ages & ability levels - several options of beginner, intermediate, and advanced tours are available.