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The following program is made possible in part by a grant from Hawaiian Airlines and by the state foundation on culture and the arts a. From a time before hidden history Hawaiians have gathered at the edge of the
sea. There to center their lives upon the bounty of the Pacific Ocean. South Kona on the island of Hawaii is this kind of place. And here the shore was once dotted with many small fishing villages. Today there is but a single fishing village left in the district. A last reminder of the way many Hawaiians once lived. They still apply their trade as fishermen raise their families and play the music taught by their forefathers. The song of self. 56 I think I was about 14 years old. When I would come I would hear you know people like. Them always together always singing I never read you around here.
This is where I started. Thinking about. My heritage. And I. Just thought. I would imitate. Or imitate. That. And then eventually I started adopting my own style of singing. I started becoming more confident in myself. I just kept to myself never showed off myself. You know religion goes back to a bruised dark times. It's an
ancient village. Not too much evidence is left of what was here a long time ago. Except there were a lot of people that lived here. Understand. And a lot of their descendants. Still live here today. There's about. Four 17 families. Men women and children just about about a hundred and twenty you know than. 150 dogs. Yes for all our. Talk and recall back. Parent generation. Well my dad. Will love this place you know. And that's far as I can remember and anybody who knows him for a long long. Time. No hear you as an individual himself in other words he was a strong domineering person. Who what he believed in.
And what he wants to do. Everything he did list. Was all good. Points. The family rituals us. He work. Sent us off to school. All the sisters and brothers. You know. All. He went on to third grade. That's why he wants to continue to. Be here. What's it like when you lose and you lose your life. You know your life. Ties into together. The. Today outboard powered skiffs take me to a fisherman like Alfredo out to the same grounds their fathers and grandfathers and fish.
You're. Going to. Get. It. But with. The simplest of traditional techniques the fisherman goes about his
daily job. From the surrenders its riches to a fiber line. I mean.
Different in every way. How you live what you eat it's smaller but I wouldn't leave here at all. The people here are good people. They work hard you start from a place like this. Where there's nothing. Everything you do is what you gain and that's what you have so. You don't rely on nobody nothing. You just. See what you get and that's what you're going to have. So it's what you make of yourself. This is what you're going to get. Famous for its fish and all of the families you're centered their family life our own kitchen though you know the children went to school or the school halls when they would come home and help their parents out of control panel or going old school of course. And that you know they bring it in. I recall when I was growing up here in the first years of my life.
Different families had the old gun laws in the family and that was their family due to their bill of course. And the training because. When Mark Carney I'll like oh we cuss. Boy when you. When you see. Them even men treat you good straight the canoe Juden the ween. I don't when you push them. Away. And then when you read it to the net you know what a. Hard. Planet but no more money. We don't take money too much you have to some extent. You know. Teenager moved on to know how you think your monkey brain and your
mockery. You know you go to parties like you can be seen to be maybe a pillow because your pillow was very famous there. You know fishing was like. This too was the main source for them. Do we know that now. That we are still living yet we are the last descended. On this place now and we still leaving. Now it's time for us to.
Let it go. What do we learn. Like heck it's. Like the sit in the big way of. Using a stripper. And these used around that my mother had taught us. You go in a place baby you never go hungry. If you know how to we that's when you find your food to support your family. We gather and allow all of us we have to work to find for these we have to divide to rule. The color to be bright color. We used to have a lot of trees over here at least for how long do you start a regional. Or region allowing for the tree would peak repeat these and retreat from home and we'd clean them and we see what my mother
how she show us how. To weave in our day we don't have electric. We do set chuckle I do. We chuckle I mean we prepare ourselves we delude it we have about one dozen at it and I want chuckle I used yeah it's hot and we get the candle in the honey bee candle we keep that my dad used to collect honey bees to be full. So the candle we keep that to claim I am so that I stay small when you I mean your heads your clothes and everything so that's why the head comes out shining. And if it's raining you won't ruin you'll have your head stay pretty. Everything. And that's why that's so people wanted to hear these songs
to you because we come in no more. Maybe we've lots more to go. BUT YOU NEVER SEE THIS SONG GOES TO. Cease our needs. Why not. That's our love. And we want her to continue. To keep our we to her songs. She will carry on a song to them next to me because the song never dies somewhere like die because the record is there now as well don't you know. It's well known today with some of those songs that Diana albeit for I hear about people singing in. There they have to make the song so mellow. Going Can you believe me if you look at you. You know I have come to
the war newspaper and. Read about it and then taken herself back to where where. Yeah. The fisherman's rights are passed from fathers to sons. The basic skills
the knowledge of currents tides and the seasons and values that conserve the resources of their livelihood. When you know. You think you know it then you. Think. You know more. Here then the. Next. One. Since. I. Know. I am on. My. Way your. Feet.
Or something. For years and years a utility has sort of been left alone in an isolated place along the. Southern coast all the way to big island. And because of the road conditions a lot of people wouldn't want to you know traverse that rolled that five miles off. Winding roadway all the way down to the ocean. And. Know it all of us you know morning technology and television and all of this Saw movies get in and. Get in that exposure. To the. The
community and the state and. The world are the guests you know exposure to outside a lot of people want to come down and visit need only. You know they've heard about me only mean one of the. Fishing villages here in Hawaii and would like to. See. That awaited they came here to see and. We hope that go when they do come if they come all the way down that five miles of treacherous. Winding Road. That. They respect the place and its people. The road itself passes through. The Village. And so it is sort of like going through somebody's living room. And. We welcome everybody. But we also wanted to. Respect us also you know the people here. Well that song. Came to Us something just like go we get in our house and be talking to you it took a long story about our history to get caught.
That we had to study about the house he used to lead there at 9:00 and he used to go down you know meet on these two white carseat her to see her not even my around the Anakin and not Jean Jacques. This time you don't hear them anymore to be. Given what the people are singing giving you here doing. Some old song. Down down here. Made it up. Time. Or.
The wrong. Thing about all these areas. They can come this fall for the harvest. Actually the family breakdown. Feed 85. But decided we night doing during the night. And to have people he wouldn't be around. So happy. And unlike. A. Family that has maybe I want to keep. It where they can go. No like not liking it. So that was the story and.
That's why they had composed the song of baby crying a lot I mean that cry calling it a modern. SONG WHY DO YOU NEED TO COME. That was the story. I got from her. My deep feeling that by any. One of the last links with that older generation. And of course trying to pass it on. The way she learned it to her son
and Willie Boy. And. We were very fortunate to have and you know with us and still. Be in that link with the older generation. I'm getting old when the next generation need. To stand and fight for Dylan right. Yeah. We get you always glowing with what we've been doing. It's one advantage when they get. Out. Will. It be. As it has been for centuries. Brings the salaries of the village together. Are in fact feasts with an abundance of food. Entertainment and fellowship. The pay is. A staple in the traditional white culture is often contributed by one family as a gesture of Aloha and sharing. It is prepared for cooking by
placing serious pop rocks in its belly. Then it's wrapped. And very. Reverent. Yes it looks lonely all day on the dirt. People of the village gathered to join in late nights in the shallow waters rich and powerful harvest from the sea. When to. Let it. Go will bring. Them up. On the way to pick. Up things. Like.
That. The pig is on Earth and the families come together each contribute for gathering strengthens family ties. It becomes a binding force for the community. The village traditions continue often go all night. Sometimes some special occasions for days. It is here that amateurs as well as professional musicians share their talents on a makeshift stage singing the music of the special place the Song of Songs. Uh.
Me. Oh. Oh oh. Oh. God who was. With. A soul in the. Upcoming gun.
Thing they you will be. Cutting. The. Whole thing up. God. On. My. Was was. The tradition. You know it was still being. Passed along you know from
father to son. Who still is still. The individual. The man out there. The notion that you get you know your good will you know. It's cool. I like to think it's. It's a Hawaiian fisherman out there. From. Now on you know all. The preceding programme was made possible in part by a grant from the state foundation on culture and the arts and by Hawaiian Airlines. The following program is a production of key HEG in one of the Lou hopefully
public television the following program has been funded in part by grants from the Hawaii State foundation on culture and the arts and the people who Chevron in Hawaii are. The Hawaiian Islands gift to us all is the heritage of its people. Like the petals of the rare Waimea hide discus our legacies can be fragile and easily destroyed or they can endure through the passage of time. As has the Waimea can't.
Oh Heritage's seem to survive better in a rural climate away from the perpetual motion of the city. Here on CO why Time moves at its natural pace and the past isn't so apt to be lost in the whirl of contemporary life. Unco I as on the other Hawaiian Islands people consciously or not working to create maintain and retain those things they hold dear. But challenges photographing that which other people have not photographed and other people are not recording at this time. Street photography is traditional to photography. And
it's also very historical. I mean that way people of the future will be able to see how we live what we look like. Change drives Callaway resident Frederick L. Morris to record the people and places of the way before the moment is lost. He knows the effect of change as evidenced in his Honolulu Chinatown image. In other words they were done three years ago and much of what I had photographed is no longer in existence. Many of the people are gone replaced by others. And many of the buildings. They're gone. And generally photograph what I'm interested in the most. So you know it's I just draw on my past experiences of where I've been. But at the same time I also like to explore. I go to areas that I feel that other people haven't been and find what I can find.
Oh Crowe one more time here. Excellent. Very very cooperative. Thank you. Cock fighting is a aspect of it even though illegal. It is important. In the. Culture of Hawaii. When contract workers arrived my Philippians to work in the sugar fields years ago they brought their favorite sport. In other words for these people off Filipino. Very ethnically socially they get together they eat. Well
and. As far as gambling the Filipinos like to gamble. But then on the other hand so does everybody else. I wanted to photograph Armando. He's a real individual within himself and a representative character of the chicken fighters who lives the lifestyle. Also he understood what I was doing. He wanted to be photographed. Oh my no. Why OK OK good good. Boy. Time you know. Yeah yeah. This is your birthday. Yeah. I was sorry that Slim was not feeling well today. Yeah. I wanted to photograph you for. Quite some time so. That is a good day. Oh I'd like to get it. Maybe it was just a moment when the whole session and generally
where the person is relaxed the camera or the photographer or the subject all right and work together as one right here. For now I'll be. Shaded. Now you. Know when I think of my. Oh good I'm on the off. Are they less less aggressive when I'm older. We do they still like to fight. Oh yeah. You know I think people get a bike you know. Oh yeah. You're going to go about it on again. OK look at the camera. Birds fight for when they're two years old they're Combs I cut back. Their fighting abilities are instinctual.
How many times a day do you feed them. One time. One time as I might have gotten up that in the afternoon. And they have enough to carry them through the whole day then you know yeah the next day. Thank God. We stink just like I was actually yes you stay come on. Yeah that exercises and take his eye. On. My soul I see inside the coop then they are there quite right. I said that it says no you bring him outside all of them exercise. How about exercise you do on all in the family and I'm on the table and morning I started to lead you to my thinking by now what. Are you. Going to do here. Then I get the like or like Kid I need not tell me. Oh I was being in the way. I. Never had very very few people that are documenting
why in the classic fine art house. Many people shouldn't color size at very very few people are shooting a rifle. Serious. Color photography most color images will fade. They begin feeling down as soon as they're printed and the software. Is Truly archival with this crisis powerful other words will last indefinitely. I definitely do feel as though I'm on a mission. I would hope. That my work could be inspirational to young photographers even with. Young local photographers. Photography is. Probably the only art form must take place in life. You can do studio work but. Most photography you must participate. You have to get out you have to be in it. Music like other performing arts exists only in the moment it is created
it is not a building that can be visited or an object that can be handled. Fortunately music can be recorded. It was a recording that inspired Hummel a resident Ken Emerson to change his life back around 1968 15 or 16. And on the radio and heard this very strange for Stradivarius still guitar like a wife in the South when I. Taught myself white Americans for some reason. I started collecting records on. Books on still going. And it's about this whole thing. Well I love it.
This is a 1930 national style o guitar resonator guitar. See it's got this Hawaiian singing on it here. Sam Lester than a real art deco model and has made Chicago as favored by steel guitar players for its sound and this is the preceding the electric steel guitar. This is a sort of a transition between the wood body guitars and life and the metal guitars of no termite problem there. I'm known for the acoustic guitar stuff which
you rarely see these days. Mr. O'Mara for a time the acoustic guitar has its own sound. Well especially the elegance of the National. You can pick a certain string you get a ring on that string that Alaska really feeling. You're. My star pupil. OK well both the songs we learn together. Michelle Everest is an accomplished folk guitarist in her own right. After
moving to Hawaii she approached Emerson and together they were accepted by the full Guard's apprentice program of the state Foundation and the culture in the arts. This unique program brings together masters like Emerson students like Edwards with the intent to pass on skills and knowledge that might be otherwise lost. The thing about folk arts is that it's something that's it's part of the culture it's part of your life and you learn it. By you know by living by watching and that's what I learned from it and I just listened to him and watched him play and I just absorb what he showed me in that way. That's our replan cussing on just. Person to person or something or you. Know. In this quiet valley of Lodi on the south side of the Pacific
tropical Botanical Gardens has a special mission the Botanical Gardens primary focus is to preserve rare and endangered tropical plants for the people of the United States. We send scientists out to collect rare and endangered tropical plants. They're grown here propagated here seeds cuttings or live plants or sent out to similar environments. It's an education center in tropical botany horticulture and it's an area of great natural beauty. Oh.
Besides its living beauty. Congressionally chartered Guard as a notable collection of botanical illustrations. These prints go back some of them two hundred years. And are extremely rare. There are little graphs. Some of them are. And colored. Prints. And numbers some 2000. Some of the prints represent plants that are found here on Kali and in Hawaii. And the majority of the prints are of tropical plants.
When Geraldine moved away in 1980 she did not anticipate her initial reaction to the island's beauty. Well I had spent more than 20 years painting wildflowers in Maine and. Wildflowers in Maine tend to be small. Delicate and never more than two or one foot high. And so when I arrived in Hawaii. I found that everything was. High up. Everything was showy and large and. Brilliant and I wasn't used to that I had what you would call an extreme case of. Botanical cultural shock. I just couldn't paint. And finally I decided well I would look up and run down.
And I thought well I think it would be a good change for me to do something different a large showy. Rather than small delicate. If I'm. Going to do a plan like. I've looked at it. For. Quite a while I've studied it and studied various. Specimens so that I know what is the norm. Botanical illustration has to portray the plant exactly as it is. And so when I do. A painting. I try to assemble all the various parts of the plant that are growing on the plant at one time so that when an artist looks at it. He'll see that it's a work of art I hope. And a botanist looking at it will see that it's accurate in every detail. It's not quite like painting a free interpretation of a flower. I mean I like to do that too that's a wonderful thing to do when you're
you're creating this way I don't feel that I'm creating so much as I'm interpret ing. How the plant grows I'm trying to get the personality of a plant across so that the plant. When you look at it that's under stay complete that plant. Then I also look up. Text that I have and do some research to be sure that I want to get around to drawing the plant. I haven't missed anything. Well the layout is an absolutely. Crucial part of the whole thing. It is the most demanding and yet the most interesting because that is the time that I'm learning about the plan. I'm finding out how the flowers. Look.
And how they coordinate with the leaves and how they grow in the branches and I have to get that accurately and at the same time it must look artistic so I have to watch where I place. Everything. I have to watch not only where the flowers are but how the empty spaces behind the flowers look because that's what design is. Bugs and decay make up the different stages of her illustration. And I love to paint. I like to go on the side
and. A mountain a river or whatever I like to do that. But that's a luxury I don't allow myself anymore because I'm in this thing which I feel is going to take me a couple lifetimes to complete. And so. I'm trying to concentrate on doing illustrations at the moment. Because. It lets you get the rest of the shit. Because if you feed it. You can see it. And if you can't see it. Like other Hawaiian towns on a PPV on the south side of Kauai was once the
hub for local goods and services. Now many of its buildings standing elected. Business has gone elsewhere. Oh. Many of the buildings. That. Fall that. Should be here. All work too late. Buildings are demolished. But this particular day is different for one of the. Main Street Project is coming to town. This national program works to revitalize small towns economically through historic preservation. To other communities in a way Hilo on the big island and neighboring Waimea on Kawai are already on the program. Today on a paper he joins them. And for some it's a very special moment. It's early morning at the green garden restaurant. Well customers finish their coffee the kitchen crew is busy preparing for the day.
Green Garden the matriarch to make sure famously caused by. On the other side of the kitchen with her daughter when he. Assembles a chicken Taro dish for the festivities later that day. When there is a home here. Literally. This building actually was our family home. Was a five bedroom house in 1948 my parents converted it into a restaurant. And when I was a child. We used to climb under there and play Jack. We used to open our. Cans of Vienna sausage and. We used to have picnics. I think we stole the Vienna sausage from the restaurant. It's not enough for Gwen to work for other people's pleasure. She has a dream that envelops
entire town on a plate. My mom and I want to work towards a revitalization of our town. Since the 50s has it's been getting really really bad and you know we just felt that there was a responsibility that we needed to to share with everybody else in trying to bring back that town in which I grew up. We keep the buildings and when people come home. They look at the buildings and then something clicks. It's the visual memory and they start remembering what it was like five years ago when 10 and 20 and 30 years ago. Unfortunately not everyone shares the dream of restoring the building. A lot of the ownership in these stores in how to paper town are still in the hands of a second generation. Looking at historic preservation. The members of our second generation. Find the old buildings
very very difficult to keep. The members of a second generation. Like to see things that are new. And modern. The comment was basically. Something like this. When do you mean to tell me that you want me to put my nice merchandise in this broken down store. How can my goods look good. In a. Place like this. The second generation has a very very difficult time. Understanding there. This. Is what we cherish because it gives us the visual memory that connection to our store heritage of which we are very proud. Yes. As a businesswoman is a realist in historic
preservation. That we're addressing for the town. We are not saying preserve the building preserve to mean something you put in a jar and pickle it stand there for forever or whatever. But when we're talking about preservation of our town's buildings. We are saying you keep a look as much as possible you do as little change as possible. You. Fix the building using as much of the old muchall as you possibly can. And then you put life back into the building. You bring back economy. You. You. You revitalize the building by having a store in it. How can we do it. We need all of your all of you. Read your help. Main Street is not a very good people. Yes they are right that big government say here's the money to hire
somebody and do it. We have to do it. If the buildings are torn down. And everything is modern. They will. The chances of them remembering lessons. Then. I believe. As the generations go on we can become. Like any other state. In the United States. Rather than. Something unique. That I think we have now. There we are. As talks about visual memories good and for good moral photographs changing lifestyles. As Ken Emerson teaches a friend old music and flowers are preserved in gardens and on paper. Perhaps these actions seem to echo Robinson Jeffers words when he wrote. Lend me the stones strength of the past and I will lend you the wings of the future for I have them. Do.
You remember. The. Spectrum was funded in part by grants from the people of Chevron in Hawaii and the Hawaii State foundation on culture and the arts.
Spectrum Hawaii
Episode Number
Episode Number
Song of South Kona
Producing Organization
PBS Hawaii
Contributing Organization
PBS Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii)
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Episode Description
This episode talks about the music and culture in South Kona in Hawaii. South Kona residents talk about the history of the fishing industry and music in South Kona. This episode explores the various ways that the people of Kaui are preserving their heritage. Steel guitarist, Ken Emerson keeps the traditional music alive by teaching his apprentice, Michelle Edwards through the Fold Artists Apprentice Program, Marc Code runs the Pacific Tropical Botanical Gardens that preserves rare and endangered tropical plants, Geraldine King Tam illustrates those plants, and members of the town of Hanapepe are trying to preserve the original buildings in Hanapepe.
Episode Description
This item is part of the Pacific Islanders section of the AAPI special collection.
Created Date
Created Date
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Local Communities
Fine Arts
A Production of Hawaii Public Television. Copyright 1986. All rights reserved
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Moving Image
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Director: Wilson, Philip A.
Executive Producer: Martin, Nino J.
Interviewee: Aki, DIana
Interviewee: Kahele, Gilbert
Interviewee: Kaupiko, Will
Interviewee: Kaupiko, Anita
Interviewee: Kaupiko, Kapela
Interviewee: Walani, John
Interviewee: Kahele, Mona
Interviewee: Emerson, Ken
Interviewee: Edwards, Michelle
Interviewee: Code, Marc
Interviewee: Hamabata, Gwen
Interviewee: Ozaki, Milton
Narrator: Scott, Ted
Narrator: WIlson-ku, Nalanai P.
Producer: Richards, Holly
Producer: Morrison, Boone
Producer: Kahele, Gilbert
Producing Organization: KHET
Producing Organization: PBS Hawaii
AAPB Contributor Holdings
PBS Hawaii (KHET)
Identifier: 1563.0 (KHET)
Format: Betacam SX
Generation: Dub
Duration: 01:00:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Spectrum Hawaii; Song of South Kona; Kaui,” 1986-11-07, PBS Hawaii, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2024,
MLA: “Spectrum Hawaii; Song of South Kona; Kaui.” 1986-11-07. PBS Hawaii, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Spectrum Hawaii; Song of South Kona; Kaui. Boston, MA: PBS Hawaii, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from