11 Dec 2019
Asked to name a stringed instrument form Hawaiʻi, most people think of the ukulele. However, the ukulele arrived in the archipelago by way of Portuguese immigrants. Hawaiʻi's only indigenous stringed instrument is the ‘ūkēkē, a strip of wood with three strings and played using the mouth as a resonance chamber. Once thought to be a lost art, the instrument and music are being revived by Mahi La Pierre and a handful of practitioners. This article from Honolulu magazine describes the efforts to maintain this and three other ancient Hawaiian traditions threatened with disappearing. Tom “Pōhaku” Stone brought back he‘e hōlua, or Hawaiian sledding; Maile Loo-Ching teaches hula ki‘i, an ancient style of hula that uses puppets; Mitchell Eli is preserving lua, the martial arts of Hawaiian nobility. Read more about these unique ancient traditional arts here.