A Hawaiian Chant Welcoming President Obama

Halau Ho’omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai’i, under the direction of Kumu Hula Manu Ikaika, perform a name chant in honor of the inauguration of President Barack Obama at the Smithsonian Institution’s “Out of Many” festival, on January 17, 2009.

In days of old Hawai‘i, kahuna (spiritual guides) or kupuna (family elders) wrote Mele Inoa (name chants) for newborn ali`i (ones of royal blood).

It was the way one knew and preserved the genealogy and history, since there were no written words.
The tradition has carried on in many forms through the years…and here, today, is a very special “Mele Inoa”.

Watch the performance on YouTube.

With a beautiful smile, President Obama gives the Hawaiian shaka sign, meaning “hang loose!”