See the original post at Estria.org:
“Our journey with this Mele Murals project with Waimānalo Elementary & Intermediate School started with a kanikapila (Hawaiian music produced in an impromptu jam session) event back in September. Our staff and the students were honored to experience the personal & live music performed by Kawika Kahiapo, Peter Wook Moon, and Gabby Boy Pahinui. The students were lucky to hear mo‘olelo (stories) on how the styles of music were developed and how they were played by the late Gabby Pahinui. They also learned about the background mo‘olelo on why the songs were created to express why Waimanalo is such a special place to reside.
Having worked with our team on the previous Blanche Pope Elementary Mele Murals project, Uncle Estria worked with Kawika and determined four portraits of great Hawaiian musicians to portray in the mural. Those four portraits were Palani Vaughan, Gabby Pahinui, Aunty Genoa Keawe, and Nickie Ahuna Hines.
The four Hawaiian musicians represented their generation that composed, promoted and professionally performed their music and Hawaiian culture. Although some people may not know Nickie Ahuna Hines, Uncle Estria and Kawika let us know that she was significant because of the many influences and great Hawaiian songs she created and people she taught. It did not matter that she was not as famous as a celebrity like the other musicians on the wall. Each musician painted on our mural has their connection to Waimānalo, whether they lived, taught, performed or has ohana (family) in Waimānalo.
Like all Mele Mural projects, a meditation session was held with the students. The session took them through a journey to imagine themselves as the water of Waimānalo. From the perspective of being the rainfall, to the waterfalls from gracing the Ko‘olau mountain range, to how water trails down to the ocean, the students sought how they feel about Waimānalo. From there, an interesting fact was drawn out about how only a few days out of the year that one can see all the waterfalls of the Ko‘olau mountain range, where it has to rain all night and the next morning needs to be clear. With this vision, it was decided to paint the four kūpuna musicians up in the clouds on the mural.
After our reflection session, one student saw the vision of himself looking down the mauna (mountain range) at the entire span of Waimānalo, like a iwa bird soaring down to the land. Other students drew up visions of a honu (sea turtle), a māno (shark) that was related to the mo‘olelo of Kamahoali‘i, and more visions of the special wind breeze that blows through Waimānalo. These animals and visions from the keiki were then incorporated into the layout of the mural.
The theme of “mauna to makai” (from the mountain to the oceans) was carried to the mural by portraying the Ko‘olau mountain range on the back of the honu and the ocean scene in the body of the māno (shark).
With this special mural in Waimānalo, it shows how Hawaiian music legacy was established in Waimānalo in the past. Currently in the present, our living generation is passing it on to the keiki (youth) of Hawaii and in the future, it is the keikiʻs responsibility to pass that torch of the knowledge of music to the next generation. This was shown with the keiki painted on the far right section of the wall.
The title of the mural is: “He mau makana nāu kēia na kō mākou kūpuna.” – These are gifts for you from we elders.
Mahalo to the keiki, students, staff and parents of Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate school. Mahalo to our sponsors of Waimanalo Feed Supply, City & County of Honolulu Grant in Aid Program, Niki Dominique Gosiaco, Brigette Tahauri, and Communities in Schools Hawaii, Inc.
Mahalo to all the musicians and their ohana of Kawika Kahiapo, Peter Wook Moon , Gabby Boy, James Bla and the Pahinui Family, Ka‘ilihiwa Vaughan and the Vaughan Family, Pōmaika‘i Lyman and the Keawe Family, and Ka‘ainoa Fernandez and the Hines Family. Mahalo to all the artists involved, Aaron Alva, Kūpuna Joe Aragon, Luke Pomai DeKneef, Nicole Jack, Estria Miyashiro, Ran Novak, Uncle Wayne Takazono, and the entire community of Waimānalo.”
Produced by Olona Media.