Nāpua Greig Shares Cultural Perspective on Hula
*Video courtesy: Aloha Stoked
Nāpua Greig of Waiohuli, Maui is a kumu hula, award-winning recording artist and educator. She was the featured performer at a recent Concert at The Shops event held during the holidays.
Greig performed alongside her Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka. She explained her role as kumu and the cultural perspective behind the tradition.
“A kumu can be a teacher; but really, the meaning of the word kumu is a source–a source of knowledge. So a kumu hula is that source for a hālau (hula school),” said Greig. “Many kumu hula have been traditionally trained. It’s a lifetime journey to become a kumu hula,” she said, noting that she was part of a traditional uniki or graduation ceremony in 2005. “It’s not something that you can sign up for or enroll in a course for; but you are chosen by your kumu to go through this process. It’s a process that’s very valuable in our culture (and) very valuable to our practice.”
“Hula and music is something that our family does. It’s our practice. It’s our work. It’s also our way of communicating; It’s our way of socializing; It’s how we spend time together. So it’s also a natural for me to share this with my own children,” said Greig, who was joined on stage by her older daughter Kailihiwa and her son, Kahiau.
“The hālau is also my ʻohana–my family,” said Greig. “Especially the older dancers that you see, have been with me for over 20 years. And so, I’m very much like a second mom to them. When I talk about the dancers, I always say ‘my girls’ and people never know who I’m talking about–the hula dancers, or my own daughters. To me, they’re all my girls.”
Greig garnered six nominations for her first solo recording Pihana, released in August of 2007, and won the title for Best Female Vocalist at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Music Awards. She most recently joined KPOA 93.5 FM as part of The Morning Rise program alongside Shane Kahalehau on weekday mornings.
Concerts at The Shops is a free, monthly concert series that is open to the public and features headlining musicians from all the Hawaiian Islands. This music event occurs on the third Wednesday of every month.