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Ancient Hula Type Name
Click to hear the pronunciation
Hula Papa Hehi a me Käla`au (Treadleboard dance with hand sticks)

 
Further Detail
Hula Papa Hehi a me Käla`au uses two implements: the papa hehi (treadleboard) and the käla`au (hand sticks). The hula types for each implement are Hula Papa Hehi and Hula Käla`au. This particular type uses both together. The basic body position is standing, as the papa hehi is played by the dancer's right or left foot. In the dancer's hands are the käla`au, which can be of equal or differing lengths. (For a closer look at both the papa hehi and the käla`au, please consult the "Implements/Instruments" section of this Library.)

In this hula type, the käla`au is the primary instrument providing rhythm and leading the storytelling, with the papa hehi providing secondary rhythm. The dancer then ties it all together with the chant.

The manner in which each implement is played separately or together varies according to hula tradition. For example, when played together, the dancer can stay with the board the entire chant, dance away from the board while continuing the käla`au rhythm and storytelling with the hands, and then perhaps returning to the board to pick up the secondary rhythm again.

This particular hula type is very demanding, as it requires great coordination on the part of the dancer to play two instruments that may have different rhythm patterns going simultaneously, perhaps dancing away from the board and finding it again without missing a beat while chanting the words with precision and clarity.

Black and white photos show performances of Hula Käla`au from Kaläkaua's Jubilee on the grounds of the `Iolani Palace (Hawai`i State Archives), Nona Beamer's dancers at the Honolulu Academy of Arts (1948), and the Queen's Surf hula program in the 1950's (Nona Beamer Archives).

General Body Position: Kü (standing)
Can be for Game, Pastime, or Sport: No
Implement or Instrument: Yes

Published Research Sources

Papa Kuhikuhi (Kaläkaua's Coronation Program)
- In Kaläkaua's extensive Coronation program of over 200 presentations, four Hula Käla`au were listed under Kumu Hula Ehu Keohohina. This specific hula type and the Hula Papa Hehi were not found in the listing.

Unwritten Literature of Hawai`i (Emerson)
- Chapter XV "The Hula Ka-laau" gives detail on this ancient hula type and notes variations in the Kaua`i Hula Käla`au. Käla`au are described in Chapter XXI on musical instruments. There is no mention of the pairing with the papa hehi in this book.

Hawaiian Dictionary (Puku`i/Elbert)
- "Hula Papa Hehi" is noted as a dance in which the treadle board is used, and that it may have originated on Ni`ihau. "Hula Käla`au" is not listed, but under the term "käla`au," "stick dancing" is given as the definition.

Hula: Historical Perspectives (Barrere/Puku`i/Kelly)
- This particular combination hula type is noted on page 15 in a quote of Captain Cook, and on page 73 as a "rare" dance. The papa hehi alone is noted on pages 74, 83, and 84. The käla`au is noted on pages 14, 27, 28, 29, 33, 62, 63, 74, and 79.

Hula Pahu volume 1 (Kaeppler)
- Page 112 notes Kumu Hula Pua Ha`aheo's repertoire included Hula Käla`au with notched sticks. This rare variation was documented as early as 1816 by Choris (footnote page 255). There is no mention of papa hehi in this Volume.

Hula Pahu volume 2 (Tatar)
- Pages 50-51 note Bingham's 1821 documentation of käla`au use in hula and with pahu. He also provided the käla`au rhythm he witnessed. Page 52 describes a Hula Käla`au witnessed on Kaua`i in 1862 that was perhaps a mele ma`i (procreation chant).

Sacred Hula: The Historical Hula `Äla`apapa (Stillman)
- Pages 25-27 detail three implement hula types associated with Hula `Äla`apapa, namely Hula Päipu, Hula Ipu Wai, and Hula Käla`au. Page 20 lists the names of three Hula Käla`au chants. Papa hehi is not mentioned.

Nä Mele Hula volume 2 (Beamer)
- On page 3, Beamer offers a look at the käla`au ki`ipä (vamp) in her tradition. Page 73 offers a chant Beamer teaches as four hula types: Hula Papa Hehi a me Käla`au, Hula Käla`au, Hula Pöhaku and Hula `Ülili. Only the latter three are named.


Additional Notes
Please see "Published Sources" section above for greater detail on where to find documented research on this Hula Type.

Peter Buck's "Arts and Crafts of Hawai`i" Volume IX on "Musical Instruments" contains two sections of interest. "Hula Sticks" discusses the making of käla`au and gives an overview of historical accounts of its use and construction. "Footboards, Or Treadles" describes the use of papa hehi combined with käla`au and gives dimensions of the implements in Bishop Museum's Collection. A photo is included. This series is published by Bishop Museum Press.

Please also consult the "Kupuna" section at bottom to read and hear what our elders have to share.

Visuals:
Dancer performing Hula Papa Hehi a me Käla`au, 2000
Hula Käla`au at Kaläkaua's Jubilee, 1886
Hula Käla`au at Kaläkaua's Jubilee, 1886
Hula Käla`au by Nona Beamer's dancers, 1948
Seated Hula Käla`au at Queen's Surf show, 1950's

Related Chants
He Moku Ka`ula (The island Ka`ula)
 

Related Implements/Instruments
Papa Hehi a me Käla`au (Treadleboard with hand sticks)
 

Related Küpuna
Beamer, Nona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha
 
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