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Implement/Instrument Name:
Click to hear the pronunciation
Kä`eke`eke (Bamboo pipe)

Published Research Sources: 
Hawaiian Dictionary (Puku`i/Elbert)
- Kä`eke`eke are described as bamboo pipes, and detail is given on their construction and how to play them. It also suggests that the term previously referred to a coconut-tree drum and the "bamboo pipe" meaning originated with Emerson.

Unwritten Literature of Hawai`i (Emerson)
- Chapter XXI "The Music and Musical Instruments of the Hawaiians" details how the pipes are best made of thin-walled, long-jointed Hawaiian bamboo. He notes the ground or bags of sand give the best sound. Also see Chapter XVII "The Hula Ka-eke-eke."

Hula Pahu volume 1 (Kaeppler)
- Pages 17-18 note that the term "ka`eke " refers to a small wooden drum. It further notes that "kä`eke`eke" is thought to refer to the "sound sent forth from the kä`eke." There is no reference to the bamboo pipes under discussion here.

Hula Pahu volume 2 (Tatar)
- Pages 288-291 detail several kä`eke`eke 4-count beat patterns, including simultaneous pipe-stamping rhythms and alternating pipe combinations. Two Hula Kä`eke`eke chants using these beats are Hanohano Pihanakalani and Holo Ana `O Kaläkaua.

Hula: Historical Perspectives (Barrere/Puku`i/Kelly)
- Chapter entitled "The Hula in Hawaiian Legends," sub-section "The Legend of La`amaikahiki" on page 11 tells how the kä`eke`eke were brought to Hawai`i from Tahiti and how associated implement terms may have been confused by Emerson in his book.

Nä Mele Hula volume 1 (Beamer)
- This Volume contains two hulas which utilize the kä`eke`eke. One is for Kaläkaua (Holoana `O Kaläkaua) and one for Kaua`i (Hanohano Pihanakalani). Beamer offers background, full text with translation, and her chant melody for each.

Additional Notes :
Kä`eke`eke are made from `ohe (bamboo) and make a unique sound when played. The bamboo is cut so that the bottom of the kä`eke`eke is the bamboo's natural node (joint). The insides of all other nodes in that piece of bamboo are removed, so the sound resonates from the bottom where it is hit, up through the pipe and out the open top. Sometimes even the bottom node is removed. The pipe's length and diameter, bamboo's type and thickness, environmental conditions (ex. humidity, temperature), and age of the bamboo all help to contribute to the quality of the sound each pipe generates.

The kä`eke`eke make a beautiful sound when hit upon the ground. The longer the pipe, the lower the sound. These instruments are used in the ancient hula type Hula Kä`eke`eke, with the dancer holding two pipes of different lengths.

See below for color photos of a set of kä`eke`eke made by master implement maker Calvin Hoe and family.

Please see "Published Sources" section above for greater detail on where to find documented research on this Implement.

Another resource is Peter Buck's "Arts and Crafts of Hawai`i" Volume IX on "Musical Instruments." The section "Bamboo Pipes" gives detail into construction and playing of kä`eke`eke and notes the various pipe sizes in Bishop Museum's collection. A photo is included which shows kä`eke`eke, papa hehi, kalä`au, and `ili`ili. 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.

2 pairs of kä`eke`eke
Dancer demonstrating how pipes are held

Related Hula Types
Hula Ali`i (Dance for chief or monarch)
Hula Kä`eke`eke (Dance with bamboo pipes)

Related Chants
Holo Ana `O Kaläkaua (Kaläkaua is sailing)

Related Küpuna
Beamer, Nona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha
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