Tag Archives: Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua

The Merrie Monarch Festival Returns

By Koa Luke, ʻUluʻulu staff member

It’s that time of year again everyone is getting excited for the first in person Merrie Monarch Festival since the pandemic began. With this yearʻs passing of Kumu Johnny Lum Ho, we wanted to honor him and his hālau, Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua by curating clips from our Merrie Monarch collection featuring the kumu and the hālau. Please note, that there is more footage of the hālau in the collection than just the clips we are sharing in this post. You are always welcome to contact us to request seeing more!

Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua under the direction of Kumu Johnny Lum Ho

The Merrie Monarch [Festival 1983] : Coronation of a King


Always a favorite for their presentation of the moʻolelo including costumes, oli, and choreography here is Geola Puaʻs 1983 Miss Aloha Hula kahiko in honor of Pele.

The winners of the 21st annual Merrie Monarch Festival [1984]


Kumu Johnny Lum Ho and the hālau were always known for their edgy and groundbreaking performances that won them numerous awards. In this clip they win 2nd Place overall in the wāhine division in 1984, but that year they also won 3rd place in the wāhine kahiko division; fourth place in the ʻauana wāhine division; and 2nd place overall in the kāne division.

23rd Annual Merrie Monarch Winner Highlights [1986]


This clip begins with one of the Merrie Monarch founders and visionary George Naʻope speaking on the movements and feelings in hula but also includes Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua winning wāhine kahiko performance at the 23rd Annual Merrie Monarch festival [1986]. Youʻll see a closeup of a younger Johnny Lum Ho as he chants and keeps beat with the ipu heke. 

25th Merrie Monarch Festival Hula Kahiko [1988]


This clip features the hālau utilizing bunches of grass as implements as the mele is about lapu spirits dwelling in the grassland of Molokaʻi.

25th Merrie Monarch Festival Hula ʻAuana [1988]


Includes Keone Nunes speaking about his late kumu Darrell Lupenui and and beautiful hula ʻauana mele and hula by Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua honoring mama Lum Ho and her recollections about “all the exciting things she did in her life. Like catching the ʻŌʻō bird [to use for feather lei] with the sticky gum of the ʻulu tree and gathering maile in the Panaʻewa forest she made feather leis and flower leis and raised the orchids she’d wear in her hair.”