Nalani’s Deep Connection to Hula & Hawaiian Music & Culture
The hula dancer Nalani has danced with many of Hawaii’s most respected musicians. She is admired by many because of her grace, and ability to convey the meaning and intent of a Hawaiian song. She is now devoting a good portion of her time to promoting Hawaiian culture and giving visitors to the islands the opportunity to experience elements of that culture. If you are a visitor or intend to visit the Honolulu area look into taking a lesson from Nalani. She offers group and private lessons. Many visitors are particularly interested in taking a hula lesson or an ukulele lesson from Nalani. Contact Nalani HERE and learn more about her on this website.
Two of the musicians that Nalani has danced for have had a particularly long and illustrious association with Hawaiian music. I am referring to Analu Aina and Mel Amina. If you have ever watched a video of the Hawaiian musician, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, affectionately known as “Bruddah Iz”, you have probably seen Mel and Analu accompanying the great Hawaiian icon.
Bruddal Iz was so important, not only to Hawaiian music, but to Hawaii itself, that when he died his body lay in state at the state capital in Honolulu. Few others have received this honor.
Bruddah Iz was a great musician and spiritual presence. His music was pure and completely honest. Everyone who is familiar with Iz’s music and personality recognizes that this was an individual with no pretensions who was exactly as he presented himself. Iz was a Hawaiian, and an advocate for Hawaiian rights. But he was also someone whose music appealed to people from all cultural backgrounds.
And here is where Mel Amina and Analu Aina come in. Both are virtuoso instrumentalists and fine singers. Analu was a member of the legendary “Sons of Hawaii” first started by Eddie Kamai and Gabby Pahinui. Mel is a first cousin to Iz He is married to Lealoha Lim Amina the widow of Skippy Kamakawiwo’ole, Skippy was Iz’s brother. Mel was also an early member of the “Makaha Sons of Niihau” along with Iz, Skippy and Moon Kauakahi .
After Iz passed on in 1997 Analu and Mel eventually performed with another Hawaiian musical great, Moe Keale. Moe, himself, was Israel’s uncle. Nalani often danced for Moe, Mel and Analu. When Moe left the scene, Nalani danced with Analu and Mel and their group “Three Scoops of Aloha”. You can experience the great musicianship of Mel and Analu on youtube. Mel Amina’s version of “Hawaiian Suppa Man” and Analu”s version of “Kaleohano” are embedded below.
As for Bruddah Iz’s uncle Moe Keale, he had a long and distinguished career as a musician, actor and lomi massage therapist. Moe joined the “Sons of Hawaii”early on and played with Eddie Kamae. Gabby Pahinui, Feet Rogers and Joe Marshall. Later he played alongside Dennis Kamakahi when Dennis replaced Gabby Pahinui . Moe was also featured in the original version of “Hawaii Five-O”, playing the role of Truck Kealoha.
So you can see Nalani’s deep connection to Hula & Hawaiian Music & Culture and that the her career is interwoven with some of Hawaii’s most important musicians. Get in touch with Nalani HERE.
By Paul Gordon