Pu’ili

Na Kani O Hula has been busy making lots of pu’ili. There are several steps to producing a pair of pu’ili. Here, Kent is sanding lengths of bamboo that he harvested a little over a week ago. In the background you can see racks hanging on the wall. These are used when painting/varneshing the slit bamboo….we still paint by hand.

The last step is to strip or thin out each pu’ili tooth so that the sound of the pu’ili comes out. For some strange reason, our cat Popoki just loves to sit under us when we are stripping to get covered in these bamboo strips. Odd little kitty……

Caring for your pu’ili:
One of the problems that happen with pu’ili, especially when they leave Hawai’i, is cracking at the handle. This is because they are drying out too fast. It will help to oil them or use any kind of furniture/wood treatments to help them from drying out. Another big reason they crack is because you forget your hula bag in the hot car and they bake!
Sometimes, if you do not use your pu’ili for a long period of time, bugs may decide to make home in them. If you see a fine yellowish powder on/below/near your pu’ili, you should put them in the freezer right away and leave them for at least a week.
Lastly, when transporting your pu’ili from home to hula (from the car to the house, from the garage to the bedroom, ect.) the tips can get caught on just about anything. You can use alot of things to protect the tips. Empty paper towel/toilet paper rolls, rubber bands or a nice pu’ili bag. It’s the best way to keep your pu’ili safe from all sorts of danger (a customer’s dog once ate her pu’ili!).

We will be a vendor at the Honolulu Festival this March 15 and 16 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Come visit us if you happen to be on Oahu. And as usual, the Merrie Monarch in April.

E lohe i ke kani o ka pu’ili, Mai ka ulu ‘ohe, ‘Ohe Hawai’i
Pu’ili wiwi, pu’ili loloa. Pu’ili, e kani!
Listen to the sound of the pu’ili, From the bamboo grove, Hawaiian bamboo
Slender, long pu’ili. Pu’ili, sing!
From: “Mele Hula No Na Mea Ho’okani!”
Composed by: Ho’oulu Cambra 12/1973