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Edith Kanakaʻole

Hawaiian composer, chanter, dancer, teacher, and entertainer, Edith Kanakaʻole (October 30, 1913- October 3, 1979) wrote the history of the Hawaiian renaissance in her native tongue.

Aunty Edith lived in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and was a longtime Hawaiiana instructor at the University of Hawai'i-Hilo. For much of her life, she also taught hula, which she learned from her mother, Mary Keliikuewa Ahiena, and was well-versed in the uses of native plants and the legends, chants and stories of the Islands.

An authority on the language and culture of her people, Aunty Edith was an active participant during its 1970s Hawaiian Renaissance. She served as a bridge for students who wanted to rescue aspects of Hawaiiana that were almost lost.

Aunty Edith believed that the oli formed the basis of Hawaiian culture and history. She learned this art first from her mother and then from Akoni Mika. Her compositions encompassed all the major styles of delivery. She performed in many places, often choreographing hulas for many of the chants, and founded her own halau (hula school) Halau O Kekuhi in 1953. Aunty Edith represents women throughout the world who for millennia have handed down history and culture through oral story and song.


August 16, 2009

January 29, 2006

September 2003


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