Music for Dance Class: Historical Hula
November 29, 2001

Artist: Napua Greig Makua

Album/Song: Pihana, “Blue Lei”



In the 1920s and ‘30s, the Hawaiian language was banned in Hawaii, so music such as “Blue Lei” was sung in English. After the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s, musicians could once again compose in Hawaiian, but hula teacher Hokulani Holt-Padilla, still enjoys using some English music in her classes to recognize this important part of history.



This is because Holt-Padilla has dedicated her life to teaching and supporting Hawaiian culture, especially its primary dance form, hula. She founded Pa ‘U O Hi’iaka, a hâlau (or hula school) on the island of Maui, in 1976 and is cultural programs director at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.



Of Pihana, Holt-Padilla says, “Makua is a new artist that selects beautiful melodies and songs to record. She only has one CD, but there are a couple of songs on it that I really enjoy, especially ‘Blue Lei.’”



To learn more about Hokulani Holt-Padilla and her music choices for hula class, check out “Poetry in Motion.”


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