Tag Archives: Oceania

Hula, colonialism, and countercolonialism

 

Hula performers began touring throughout the continental United States and Europe in the late 19th century. These hula circuits introduced hula and Hawaiians to U.S. audiences, establishing an imagined intimacy, a powerful fantasy that enabled Americans to possess their colony physically and symbolically.

At vaudeville theaters, international expositions, commercial nightclubs, and military bases, Hawaiian women acted as ambassadors of aloha, enabling Americans to imagine Hawai’i as feminine and benign, and the relation between colonizer and colonized as mutually desired. Meanwhile, in the early years of American imperialism in the Pacific, touring hula performers incorporated veiled critiques of U.S. expansionism into their productions.

By the 1930s Hawaiian culture, particularly its music and hula, had enormous promotional value. In the 1940s thousands of U.S. soldiers and military personnel in Hawai’i were entertained by hula performances, many of which were filmed by military photographers. Yet Hawaiians also used hula as a means of cultural survival and countercolonial political praxis.

This according to Aloha America: Hula circuits through the U.S. empire by Adria L. Imada (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012).

Above, dancing the hula for servicemen, 1944; below, Hal Aloma with Lani McIntyre and his Aloha Islanders, 1949.

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Filed under Australia and Pacific islands, Curiosities, Dance

The pure drop

Produced under the Australian government’s Broadband Production Initiative, Ether Multimedia’s The pure drop is a free online resource that describes itself as “an exploration and celebration of traditional and world music”.

The site is organized around eleven short videos—all under six minutes—that explore topics such as instruments, lyrics, and transmission; links to further information about the specific topics in the videos are provided, and study guides, maps, a hyperlinked index of persons, and other supporting materials are included.

While this resource is clearly intended for use in secondary schools, and is so used throughout Australia, it is available to anyone interested in video interviews, performances, and mp3 audio by traditional, neotraditional, and popular musicians such as Billy Bragg, Värttinä, and Yothu Yindi.

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Filed under Pedagogy, Popular music, Resources, World music