Unique show explores the history of Hawaii
KAHULUI – With an international cast of over 70 dancers, chanters, musicians and actors, “Recalling Hawaii” is opening on Maui for a one-night show at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater on Saturday, June 2.
Performers, ranging in age from three to 70 and representing over ten halau from the Ka ‘Imi Na’Auao O Hawaii Nei Institute, will chronicle the history of Hawaii, “awakening the past, the now and the future with oli, mele and hula.”
Director of the multimedia extravaganza is Roselle Keli’ihonipua (Lindsey) Bailey, a citizen of the world with deep roots in Lahaina.
The founder of Ka ‘Imi refers to herself as the “dreamer and organizer” of the two-hour epic.
It is presented in two parts. Act I is based on the origins of the Hawaiian people, the Kumulipo, she said.
“In the beginning, there were no canoes,” is the powerful opening.
The first half spotlights the elements, supported by the sounds of dance, drums, oli and the natural forces, with a stunning visual complement of images as a backdrop.
Act II opens with a rendition of Del Beazley’s “Big Bad Bruddah.”
“Man arrived in canoes,” Bailey said.
This half of the production takes the audience on a journey through Hawaiian cultural and political history up to today.
“There are two narrators. One is a storyteller, and the other one narrates the plot,” Bailey explained.
“The cast fills in. We have a mixture of dances, songs and conversations. It is quite unusual,” she added.
Featuring Na Kaholokula, Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners from Kauai, the mixture of contemporary and traditional Hawaii music and dance enlivens the experience.
“We have no recorded music,” Bailey remarked. “The cast sings. The musicians are comprised of husbands or children of people who belong to Ka ‘Imi.”
“Recalling Hawaii” has been staged three times in Europe and to a sold-out audience on Kauai last May.
The seed of the epic creation evolved over the years, the kumu hula said.
The challenge was to weave the mission of the institute she established over 40 years ago within the folds of the epic: “To search for the truth of the Hawaiian culture; to restore Hawaiian culture to its original dignity; to educate the populace for its understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of medicine, art, language, crafts, philosophy and religion of the Hawaiian people, through hula.”
A highly spiritual woman and admittedly political being, the mother of two grown daughters is an enigma.
Her parents were Ned and Pua Lindsey of Lahaina, well-respected kupuna and community leaders.
She has been dancing since age four.
The creative talent studied under her parents, Aunty Emma Sharpe, Edith Kanaka’ole and Kau’i Zuttermeister.
She is a graduate from Lahainaluna Technical High School, Class of 1955.
Since then, her path has taken her across the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific, around the world and back home to Maui.
With her husband, Jim Bailey, she has lived on Kauai and in Iraq, Bangladesh and The Netherlands.
She teaches semiannually in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
In 2007, she was honored on Kauai as the recipient of the Living Treasure Award.
“I am a citizen of the Reinstated Hawaiian Government,” Bailey added.
She served as the government’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for a short time, meeting with heads of state during her global travels.
Sometimes you’ll find her at a North Beach Advisory Group meeting in Lahaina.
Bailey’s inspiration is her parents.
“They instilled all the values in me,” she said.
“My passion,” she added, “is to correct concepts, precepts and perspectives of the Hawaiian and even more the people of Oceania.”
She explained her position: “So (the words) native and indigenous already puts a person in a position where they cannot get out; I don’t like that.
“(I want) to help educate and liberate them from those concepts, precepts and perspectives,” Bailey continued, “because we are all gifted. We need to recognize our gifts and be happy with ourselves and nurture those gifts, whoever we are.”
In any and all cases, Bailey is about education, “to share and to teach,” and “Recalling Hawaii” is a major accomplishment.
Her daughter, 50-year-old Sharon Balidoy, is a kumu hula, coed paddling coach and cofounder of the Lae’ula ‘O Kai Canoe Club in Kanaha.
She was unable to perform in Kauai last year but attended the performance.
Balidoy described the dramatic experience: “It was awesome to see it go from the darkness and the stars to up through history, and then to see the history through the ali’i and all that they did. It is educational. I learned a lot.
“It was entertaining. The mixture of chanting and dancing, kahiko and awana keeps it lively.”
It’s education through entertainment, she said.
Everyone will walk away with new knowledge, Balidoy commented.
“Recalling Hawaii” is not only a learning experience, it is also a fundraiser for the Ka ‘Imi Institute, a 501(c)3 organization. Other beneficiaries are Lae’ula ‘O Kai and Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows.
Major Maui artist Phil Sabado will be unveiling an original at the event on Saturday night and is dedicating the image to the nonprofit. He will also sign autographed poster copies.
Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children (12 and under). For more information, visit www.kaimi.org/.
Tickets are available at the MACC Box Office at 242-SHOW (7469) and via www.MauiArts.org.