Pauline Kekahuna Untitled 1
Pauline Kekahuna
paulene kekahuna
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One-Of-A-Kind First Known Historic
1950s Recordings

Rare home recordings from the vaults of Ghirardelli Chocolate heir Kent Ghirard of Pauline Kekahuna and her Hau'oli Girls. Ghirard introduced innovative ideas in synchronization, costuming, and performance to hula in the 1950s that have become traditional norms today. Pauline Kekahuna became the founder of the Hauoli Hula Studio whose group Hau'oli Hula Maids set the standard of excellence winning the very first Merrie Monarch Hula Festival competition in 1971. Some say there would not be a Merrie Monarch Hula Festival were it not for the efforts of Auntie Pauline. Also featuring the first known recording by the legendary Nina Keali'iwahamana.

These rare instantaneous home recordings, made from 1953 through 1955, capture the majesty of Pauline Kekahuna & her Hau’oli Girls, a unique all-women enterprise that thrived in Waikiki prior to Hawaii’s Statehood. Pauline Kekahuna was always the leader of the Hau’oli Girls. She adjusted the roster of the Hau’oli Girls according to the needs of the client or the venue. Pauline never took their style away from the women who performed in the group. She embraced their arrangements, and encouraged their compositions. Nina Keali’iwahamana, the final remaining survivor of these extraordinary sessions, has graciously shared her memories of these historic sessions with us. These one-of-a-kind recordings celebrate the early empowerment of the Hawaiian woman. Highlights include: 1st known revival recording of “Kaulana Na Pua”, 1st known recording of Nina Keali’iwahamana (age 16), 1st known recording of Alice Johnson singing her “Nani Wale Ke’anae”, only known recording of Vickie Ii Rodrigues singing her “KHBC”, and much more.

Harry B. Soria, Jr. ~ Territorial Airwaves

Kent Ghirard ~ Hula Preservation Society Honoree

Who knows why Kent Ghirard doesn’t seem to get the credit due for the contributions he made to Hawaiian music and hula?

Maybe it's because Ghirard came from a wealthy mainland haole family and produced hula shows on the mainland before he moved here in 1947. Maybe it's because he was most active as a promoter here back when hula was taught by teachers in hula studios rather than by kumu hula in hula halau.

Whatever the explanation, Ghirard introduced ideas in costuming and performance that have become traditional in Waikiki, and also made acetate recordings of the performers he worked with that document the music of the era.

This collection of recordings Ghirard made of Pauline Kekahuna and Her Hau‘ole Girls from 1953 through 1955 is an instant must-buy for anyone interested in Hawaiian music as it was performed in the mid-20th century. It includes the first known recordings of several Hawaiian songs that have since become standards, the first known recording by Nina Keali‘iwahamana, and the only known recording of her mother, Vickie I‘i Rodrigues, singing the lead vocal of “KHBC,” the song Rodrigues wrote in 1936 to commemorate the opening of a Big Island radio station.

These recordings should also rekindle interest in Kekahuna’s work as a performer and recording artist. Liner notes by Harry B. Soria Jr., and Keali‘iwahamana, the only member of The Girls still living, completes this welcome retrospective on Kekahuna and her girls. All going well Ghirard’s archives will be opened again soon.

John Berger, Honolulu Star Advertiser

Pauline Kekahuna


HOCD2085 - Pauline Kekahuna and Her Hau'oli Girls

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