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Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu

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‘Mark Keali`i Ho`omalu’ is a contemporary Hawaiian chanter, born and raised in Aiea, Oahu. At the age of 15, he started his hula career with John Pi`ilani Watkins doing various luau and Polynesian shows around Oahu.

In 1979 he joined a halau [1], which became the foundation for Mark’s hula education as an `olapa [2] and chanter.

Ho`omalu moved to California in 1979 to teach hula with Tiare Clifford of Tiare Otea in San Francisco. After refining much of his teaching technique under Clifford’s direction, he was introduced to Bea and Herb Hew Len. In 1988 they turned over the directorship of their halau, Na Mele Hula `Ohana to Ho`omalu.

Na Mele Hula `Ohana set high standards in hula competitions along the West Coast and in Hawaii. They were invited to the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival in 1997, where their men placed fourth in the hula kahiko (ancient hula) competition. They returned to the Merrie Monarch each year through 2000. Ho`omalu disbanded the halau in early 2002. He continues to teach seminars throughout country.

In February 2003, he opened a new halau, the Academy of Hawaiian Arts. The halau has participated in many events around California, including the `Ia Oe E Ka La Hula Competition and San Francisco’s Aloha Festival. They most recently danced at the prestigious Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo, Hawaii this past April.

His style is both innovative and controversial, as purists disapprove of the liberties he takes in creating new arrangements of ancient chants.

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