Oli

nvt. Chant that was not danced to, especially with prolonged phrases chanted in one breath, often with a trill (ʻiʻi) at the end of each phrase; to chant thus. Ke oli, the chant. Mea oli, chanter. (PNP oli.)

Welcome to Merrie Monarch week in beautiful (cold and rainy) Hilo, Hawaiʻi. And true to form, was all beautiful last week and this week, on an early morning drive in from Hāmākua — POURING. But we will see. You never know.

Lots going on in this quaint little town: hula, shopping, parade, shopping, eating, shopping and hula. So I thought this an appropriate time to brush up on one important word pertinent to the week.

If you are going to watch the Merrie Monarch on television (or one of the few who get to view it in person), you will certainly hear a lot of oli. Notice no ʻokina. Oli is chanting that is not accompanied by hula. If there is hula involved, then it is mele. When the dancer(s) first go onto the stage the performance will probably begin with an oli, probably an oli of welcome or something related to the dance that will follow.

There are many different types or styles of oli, as you have probably noticed. Some of these include: kepakepa (fast, rhythmic chant), hoʻāeae (chant with lengthened vowels), or kāwele (similar but slower than kepakepa).

Click here for an example of oli (by Aunty Maʻiki Aiu Lake). Here is a mele (chant accompanied by instrument and dance) by Kaʻupena Wong, one of my all time favorite chanters of today.

Oli (chant) is NOT to be confused with ʻoli (note the ʻokina) which means joyful or happy, as in hauʻoli–happy, or nūʻoli–good news.

There are many different types or styles of oli, as you have probably noticed. Some of these include: kepakepa (fast, rhythmic chant), hoʻāeae (chant with lengthened vowels), or kāwele (similar but slower than kepakepa).

Hoihoi nā oli ma ka hoʻokūkū hula – the chants at the hula competition are interesting.

Lōʻihi kekahi mau oli – Some chants are long.

Ikaika ka leo o nā mea oli – the chanters have strong voices.

Copyright:

2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. ALl rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author.

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