Introduction: Ceslie-Ann Kamakawiwo’ole, also known as “Wehi,” was a renowned master of Hawaiian hula and culture. She dedicated her life to preserving and sharing the traditions of her ancestors and is remembered as a pillar of the Hawaiian community. In this article, we will explore Wehi’s life, her contributions to Hawaiian culture, and her lasting legacy.
Early Life and Education:
Ceslie-Ann Kamakawiwo’ole was born on December 28, 1954, in Honolulu, Hawaii. She grew up in the town of Kaimuki, where she was introduced to hula at a young age. Wehi’s mother was a hula dancer, and her father was a musician, so performing arts were always a part of her life. Wehi studied hula under several masters, including Maiki Aiu Lake, who is known as the “Mother of Hula.”
Career and Contributions:
Wehi began her career as a hula dancer in the 1970s, performing with various hālau hula (hula schools) in Hawaii and around the world. She was known for her graceful movements and her ability to convey the stories and traditions of her culture through hula. Wehi also worked as a cultural consultant, helping to educate people about Hawaiian customs and traditions.
In 1980, Wehi founded her own hālau hula, Halau o Wehi, which quickly gained a reputation as one of the best in Hawaii. Wehi’s hālau was known for its emphasis on traditional Hawaiian hula and for its dedication to teaching students about the history and culture of Hawaii. Many of Wehi’s students went on to become successful hula dancers and teachers themselves, continuing her legacy.
In addition to her work with hula, Wehi was also a talented musician and songwriter. She wrote many songs that celebrated Hawaiian culture and traditions, including “Nani Wale Līhu’e” and “Ua Nani Kaua’i.” Wehi’s music has been performed by many Hawaiian artists and is still enjoyed by people around the world.
Ceslie-Ann “Wehi” Kamakawiwo’ole passed away on May 26, 2008, at the age of 53. However, her legacy lives on through the many people she taught and inspired throughout her life. Wehi’s dedication to preserving and sharing Hawaiian culture helped to ensure that the traditions of her ancestors continue to be passed down to future generations.
Wehi’s hālau hula, Halau o Wehi, is still in operation today, and her daughter, Kamakoa Lindsey-Asing, now runs the school. Kamakoa and other members of Wehi’s family continue to teach hula and share their culture with people around the world, keeping Wehi’s legacy alive.
ceslie-ann “wehi” kamakawiwo’ole was a master of Hawaiian hula and culture whose contributions to her community and her culture continue to be felt today. Through her work as a dancer, musician, and cultural consultant, Wehi helped to preserve and share the traditions of her ancestors with the world. Her legacy lives on through the many people she taught and inspired, and her influence on Hawaiian culture will be felt for generations to come.