Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu

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Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu
Origin ʻAiea, Oʻahu
Genres Hawaiian
Instruments Ipu
Years active 1980-present
Labels MKH Productions
Notable instruments

Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu is a contemporary Hawaiian chanter who was born and raised in ʻAiea, Oʻahu. He is best known for his contributions to the soundtrack of the 2002 Disney animated film, Lilo & Stitch, providing the film's two non-Elvis Presley-related songs.


At the age of 15, Hoʻomalu started his hula career with John Piʻilani Watkins doing various lūʻau and Polynesian shows around Oʻahu.

In 1979, he joined a hālau,[1] which became the foundation for Mark's hula education as an ʻolapa[2] and chanter.

Hoʻomalu 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 hālau, Nā Mele Hula ʻOhana to Hoʻomalu.

Nā Mele Hula ʻOhana set high standards in hula competitions along the West Coast and in Hawaiʻi. 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. Hoʻomalu disbanded the hālau in early 2002. He continues to teach seminars throughout country.

In February 2003, he opened a new halau, the Academy of Hawaiian Arts. The hālau has participated in many events around California, including the Iā ʻOe E Ka Lā Hula Competition in Pleasanton and San Francisco's Aloha Festival. They most recently danced at the prestigious Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo, Hawaiʻi 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. He was selected to perform at halftime of the 2013 Hawaii Bowl game.

Lilo & Stitch[edit]

In June 2002, Walt Disney Pictures released their animated feature film, Lilo & Stitch, which prominently featured two songs performed by Hoʻomalu along with The Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus: a traditional song called "He Mele No Lilo" and an original song written by Hoʻomalu especially for the film, "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride".


  • Poʻokela Chants (1999)

Inventive yet familiar; peculiar yet intriguing; dignified yet unrestrained; bizarre to the senses, yet intense to the soul. Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu...has caught the islands by storm with his bold and unique treatment of Hawaiian literary performance....While the majority of selections feature vocals and ipu accompaniment, some have been enhanced with strings and guitar work. Cultural themes range from the divine splendor of Keaomelemele, goddess of the clouds, to tributes of the seventh sovereign of Hawaiʻi in 'Holo Ana ʻO Kalākāua' and 'Kalākāua He Inoa.'[3]

  • Call It What You Like... (2003)

This is not the only way to chant, nor the only way I chant. It is an alternative way of chanting/singing that I explore, develop and choose to do. I love to listen to the old chant styles, which are more instinctive and familiar to my ears. Yet, in my attempts to fabricate the same, it takes on a life of its own. The best way I've found to explain the complicacies of my music is to Call It What You Like.[3]


  1. ^ "Hula Terms 101 - Keiki Hula Festival News Story - KITV Honolulu". Archived from the original on 2006-03-01. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  2. ^ Na Lei - 'Olapa. Retrieved on 2010-11-26.
  3. ^ a b "Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu". HulaSource. Archived from the original on 2005-07-09. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 

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