Kumu John Keolamaka`ainananakalāhuiokalanikamehameha'ekolu Lake,
Founder (1937 - 2008)
In 1975, Master Kumu Hula John Keola Lake in cooperation with the Hawaiian Music Foundation, began Hālau Mele to learn all things Hawaiian. Classes in Hawaiian music, chant, and dance were conducted on the campus of Saint Louis High School in Kaimuki on the island of O'ahu by Kumu Lake and other great musicians and artisans, which included Kahauanu Lake, Ray Kane, Alice Namakelua, Aunty Edith Kanaka'ole, and others. In 1992, Kumu John Lake and his cousin, master musician Kahauanu Lake continued Halau Mele continuing classes in Hawaiian music, chant, and dance, as well as instructions in Hawaiian language and traditions in the area of Kaimuki then later on the campus of University of Hawai'i, Manoa. In 2004, another branch of Halau Mele opened up on the island of Maui, and in 2007, Halau Mele opened up here on the island of Hawai'i.
Kumu Lake began studying hula at age 5 from his grand-aunt Alice Ka’ehukai Ka’ae Shaw while growing up in Maui. He continued the study of hula from Maiki Aiu Lake in which he uniki (graduated) under her as a master Kumu Hula. In 1965 he formed the Saint Louis Glee Club, Hawaiian music and hula (another of its first), later known as the Saint Louis Hui O Nā `Opio. In 1980, he established his hālau known as Nā Hānona o ka Halau Hula Pa Ola Kapu. Kumu Lake also learned chant from Aunty Edith Kanaka’ole. In 1991, he formed a group, Nā Wa’a Lālani o Pu’ukohola, perpetuating ancient chants, rituals, and ceremonies. Throughout his life until his passing in 2008, Kumu Lake’s philosophy was always to instruct and to educate (to draw out the best in his students) in the living and practice of basic Hawaiian cultural values as found in aloha (love), `ike (knowledge), kuleana (responsibility), `ohana (family), kokua (assistance), laulima (support of others), and lokahi (oneness and harmony) which was also integral functions of his Catholic beliefs and practices. He also provided his students the knowledge, skill, process, and attitude to live these Hawaiian cultural values.
Kumu John Ku'uhoamele Cuban
Kumu John Ku’uhoamele Cuban is presently employed as a resource teacher at Mountain View Elementary School. He was born and raised in Kalihi, Oahu. He attended St. Louis High, and during that time, he was part of Kumu Lake’s St.Louis Hui O Nā ʻOpio from 1986 – 1990. After he graduated in 1990, he moved to the island of Hawai’i to attend the University of Hawai’i of Hilo. At the University of Hawai’i, Hilo, he received his bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies and Master of Arts in Education. He then became a Hawaiian cultural resource for the Hawai’i Department of Education for 30 years. His Hawaiian cultural background stems back over 22 years of study under the mentorship of master Kumu Hula John Keola Lake of Honolulu, Hawai’i.
In 2003, he was appointed as a master kumu in the arts and traditions of hula. Along with being a kumu hula, he is an accomplished chanter and perpetuator of the ‘ōlelo Hawai’i (Hawaiian language), protocols, and traditions of old Hawai’i. Kumu John is also a kahuna pule of Pu’ukoholā heiau, Kawaihae; director of the Hawai’i island Hālau Mele: Academy of Hawaiian arts, music, and dance; and he continues to serve the Hawai’i Department of Education as a regular education teacher at Mountain View Elementary School where he continues to instill Hawaiian educational styles and values.
"Hula is the Art of Hawaiian dance that expresses all that we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and feel."
The Hula, which is the essence of this class, requires discipline, perseverance, understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of an art form. Here in Hawai'i, over the years, this art form has proven to be instrumental in acquiring knowledge of Hawaiian things such as the language, customs, manners, geography, history, literature, and arts and crafts. Nā Mōhai Aloha O Ka Laua’e Pā Ola Kapu of Halau Mele provides students with an understanding of the traditions that are part of the art of hula. It is essential to know that the emphasis of this program is not so much on the preciseness and strictness of the movements but on understanding the thoughts, feelings, and ideas expressed through the chants and songs they dance to. They will learn the movements of a particular chant or song and the background of what the chant or song is about.
This hula class aims to develop a deeper understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the hula and the cultural heritage of Hawai’i through music and hula. This hula program will increase the understanding of how hula represents the traditions, beliefs, and values of the Hawaiian culture. It is the goal of this hula program to develop not only a foundation for the student but also to develop a deep understanding and interest in the hula that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Our hula instruction includes the following:
• Basic Hawaiian traditions and protocols that pertain to hula
• Stories and folklore behind the hula they learn
• Basic Hawaiian language behind the hula