Hula app launches for Merrie Monarch
BY NINA WU / firstname.lastname@example.org
Tradition meets technology with a new app in the iTunes Store — Ke Ao Hula made its debut last week, bringing hula to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch just in time for the 50th Merrie Monarch Festival from March 31 through April 6 at Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium in Hilo.
Users can fire up the app to learn about different kumu hula, hula dancers and Hawaii-based musicians, as well as the history of the festival. They can also view a live Twitter feed and join in the conversation, plus vote for their favorite halau in different categories (with results posted on Sunday, April 7).
Merrie Monarch commentary will appear daily, along with updates about halau fundraisers and hula events in 2013. Also look for a glossary of different hula terms, along with a link to an online English/Hawaiian dictionary.
“More and more people want to know about what makes hula so special, and we want to perpetuate the culture by sharing the meaning behind the dancing,” said Ke Ao Hula founder Gabriel Spencer. “Our generation communicates through technology, and we want people to understand that hula is much more than just a dance, it’s the knowledge of our ancestors.
“Our goal is to educate others about our history and culture, and to give people who tune in to the Merrie Monarch this year, a greater appreciation for hula and the halau that work so hard to get there.”
Spencer, who himself is a dancer that has competed at Merrie Monarch, launched the app with his girlfriend, Kim Shibata. Their mission is to connect individuals passionate about hula and Hawaiian culture using current technologies.