Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hula Girls

Greeting from Aloha land, where a sunnier Professor interrupts this week’s reveries with an update from Waikiki beach, in beautiful Honolulu Hawaii.

Had a Mai Tai dinner (4 Mai Tais and grilled appetizers) with the Weaver at a beachfront bar under a spreading Banyan tree. There was a very good trio on stage, playing traditional and contemporary tunes in the Hawaiian style. The ‘lead Uke’ player was extraordinary, certainly the best I’ve heard on this often maligned instrument. The woman singing was sublime, very understated but melodic. This music is somewhat repetitive, but when done well, very enchanting. Every five or six songs the woman would step to the fore and and perform a hula to the music played behind her. VERY sublime: graceful, poised, hypnotic. About halfway through the second set, an older woman came up from the audience and performed a very dramatic hula interpretation. Of course, she got a big hand. Two hula girls, from different generations, united in a common mode of expression, beautiful, each in her own way.

Of course, hula dancers are nearly everywhere in Waikiki, in the parks, in the nightspots - all having fine dancers, who have perfected these movements since childhood. Perhaps it was the Mai Tais, but for a few moments during the dance it seemed as if all the tourist-driven hype had vanished and we were transported, as we should have been, to a higher plane of consciousness; closer to one aspect of the mysterious essence of humanity.

When Christianity came to power to Hawaii, one of the first things the missionaries did was banning the hula.

By Professor Batty


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