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Celebrating Hawaiian culture

KAPAA — Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures that makes it the place of aloha, said Waipu’ilani Flores.

“We live in Hawaii, and it’s only right that we perpetuate our heart and culture,” Flores said. “And hopefully, we can share that with everybody that comes to our event.”

On Friday, the Malie Foundation is hosting its ninth annual Na Lei Hiwahiwa event at the Marriott Courtyard Kauai, celebrating Hawaiian music and tradition.

This year’s event is Drums of Aloha, incorporating elements of four different ethnic groups — Hawaiian, Tahitian, Japanese Taiko and Native American — that incorporates this year’s theme of Na Mo‘omeheu O Hawaii Nei or cultures of Hawaii.

This is the first year the event is having drummers play along with Iwalani Ho’omanawanui, a well-respected local artist.

“For the past four years, we’ve had Iwalani Ho’omanawanui from Oahu. She’s a well-known musician and entertainer who plays for a lot of heiau,” said director Maka Herrod. “But this year, we wanted to feature drums from different ethnic groups. We’ve never had the drumming and the reason we added that this year is because every year when the theme is chosen, we tie into that theme.”

For Flores, who will be the emcee of the event, it’s an opportunity for locals to come out and remember how important Hawaiian culture is, particularly on Kauai.

“People look forward to this every year because it’s a nice way to unite people who share a common interest of our Hawaiian culture and love Hawaiian music,” she said. “This will encourage the youth in our community to be more actively involved in our Mokihana events and activities. And it also helps us to ensure our longevity, ensuring that our Hawaiian legacy will be carried forward in the long run.”

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Children (6-17) are $5.

For ticket info., call (808) 652-4497.

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