Kumu hula and multi-award-winning singer Nāpua Greig shares her moʻolelo

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 3:40 AM HST
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On this special segment of Talk Story: Hula is Life, McKenna visits with kumu hula and Muti-Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning singer Nāpua Greig. McKenna flew to the Valley Isle to catch up with the upcountry Maui girl, who’s busy life resembles an intricate hula.

Greig grew up in the music industry and was happy being a mom to her two beautiful daughters and a kumu hula when in 2005 she found herself divorced and a single parent. At the time Greig, managed her halau and worked different jobs, but "People were like you should record an album. (I was) very fortunate that somebody took me along. I recorded the first CD (Pihana in 2007) and won my first Hōkū.” (2008 Best Female Vocalist)

McKenna shares with Nāpua that one of the things she loves about watching her perform is seeing her float effortlessly into graceful hula while she is singing. Nāpua says: “My mom did that when she was a young girl performing in Waikiki. That was kind of like her signature thing. I kind of wanted to continue what she used to do, and so I started to do it.” Nāpua is passing down priceless pearls to her halau as well. “As a kumu hula, I always tell my girls: I only teach the way I was taught, and I only expect out of you what was expected out of me. There’s nothing new. It’s just how it’s been. It’s part of tradition. It’s part of legacy. So when I tell the girls, ‘It’s not about you, it’s about me’, it’s because when I was a dancer, I was very happy for it to be about my kumu, and very happy to have nobody know what my name was because all I wanted to be was Johnny’s girl.” She’s referring to Uncle Johnny Lum Ho, her kumu hula. Nāpua adores Merrie Monarch Festival and is happy to serve in any role. “I’ll always have the little hula girl in me that Merrie Monarch is just like Christmas for hula people, and so if I can be a part of it in any way you know. I’ve been a dancer, I’ve been a Miss Aloha hula contestant, a musician, a kumu hula, I don’t know what else I can do. A judge? Whatever way I can be a part of it. I even told Aunty Luana: heck, I’ll sell T-shirts! Whatever way I can be a part of it, I’ll do anything because it’s that for me.”

About Nāpua Greig: Nāpua Greig began her solo recording career with the highly anticipated release of Pīhana in August 2007. This debut album earned six nominations at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Music Awards and later won the "Best Female Vocalist" award. In 2010, Nāpua released her sophomore album, Mōhalu, which received three Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards in 2011; "Favorite Entertainer" by fans, "Female Vocalist of the Year," and for "Hawaiian Album of the Year." When asked how she manages to accomplish all she does, being a kumu hula, schoolteacher, recording artist, and Mommy, Nāpua responds that it is her children that drive her to do all she can in this life.

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