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by Charlie Aldinger, Bishop Museum

Two exciting Hawaiian concerts will benefit the Bishop Museum’s collaborative Ho‘olaupa‘i: Hawaiian Newspaper Resource Project on May 5 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Dr. Richard T. Mamiya Theatre at St. Louis High School.

Tickets are $25 per person and are available at the Bishop Museum box office daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The money raised from the concert is helping fund a collaborative project headed by Bishop Museum with the goal of digitizing and placing thousands of pages from the Hawaiian language newspapers of the 19th and early 20th century on the Internet.

Hawaiian chanters including Cy Bridges, Hokulani Holt-Padilla, Leina‘ala Kalama-Heine, Keali‘i Reichel, and many others will perform a selection of original oli (chant) written and published in Hawaiian language newspapers from 1834 to 1949.

This extraordinary concert will feature Hawaiian teachers, practitioners, and youth from Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau performing chants that have not been heard in some cases, in more than 100 years.

Hawaiian oli predates western contact and was the major art form for keeping oral histories and traditions such as genealogy, special places, important events, prayers, births, and deaths by committing to memory passages that were passed down through the years. Thousands of oli were published in the Hawaiian language newspapers of the day, but have not been performed in decades.
Thousands of oli were printed in the Hawaiian language newspapers between 1834 and 1949. Until now, these oli have been unavailable to contemporary Hawaiians. Through efforts by the Ho‘olaupa‘i research team, 646 oli have been compiled for selection by the chanters for performance at the concert.

According to Kaui Sai-Dudoit, concert organizer and Ho‘olaupa‘i Hawaiian Newspaper Resource Project manager, “Our goal is to honor the composers by breathing life back into their compositions, through the talents of modern day practitioners, young and old.”

The Ho‘olaupa‘i Project is reconstructing a national archive. Using the Internet and new digital technology, Bishop Museum is creating the world’s largest collection of written Hawaiian language material, making it easily accessible to millions at www.nupepa.org.

“ It is our hope that through these efforts we can help renew interest in an important cultural practice of our kupuna and raise awareness and much needed funding for the continuation of the Ho‘olaupa‘i Research Project,” said Sai-Dudoit.

According to the Bishop Museum, during the 1800 and early 1900s, native Hawaiians amassed a large collection of newspaper publications that were approximately 125,000 pages of text written in Hawaiian. The traditional, cultural, historical, and political wisdom of this culture during this time period is contained within this repository.

These newspapers represent the largest collection of native language writings of any Pacific peoples and were the product of a fully literate population, created by and for them.

Access in recent decades has been extremely limited because the original copies are in poor condition and are deteriorating despite costly aggressive preservation efforts.

Making the information available on the Internet reduces the need for a manual search. This helps preserve the originals because it will reduce the number of people handling the documents.

Recent technological advancements in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) have enabled Bishop Museum researchers to create digital images of the publications from microfilm or the original documents. OCR renders the whole Hawaiian language newspaper archive directly accessible by word search. Although the information is all in Hawaiian, OCR access can locate key content through Hawaiian word and phrase searching.

For the past four years, Ho‘olaupa‘i has been methodically duplicating nearly 9,000 pages of the earliest Hawaiian newspapers under the leadership of Sai-Dudoit. The work of the Ho‘olaupa‘i team has created a contemporary connectivity to the language, thoughts, emotions, and expressions of Hawaiians from a century earlier.

For more information about the concert, or Ho‘olaupa‘i, contact Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit at (808) 255- 3206 or Bishop Museum at (808) 847-3511, or visit www.bishop museum.org.



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