Friday, May 4, 2012
Friday, November 18, 2011
I was invited to a "special Hawaiian show" for some local dignitaries, at one of Hawaii's cruise ships which was anchored at the Aloha Tower dock. I will not mention the name of the lady who invited me, she is quite well known.
I asked her if I could bring a couple of guests, my wife and Mama Loa. I was given the O.K. When we arrived at the entrance to the ships showroom, there was quite a crowd waiting.
After waiting a few moments, Mama Loa was getting impatient. She told the doorman that she wanted to enter and get a seat as her legs were hurting. She was told that she would have to wait along with the rest of us.
She replied, "You impertinent whipper snapper, do you know I am Hawaiian Royalty! How dare you ask me to wait!" She was quite loud and threatening, I guess, for the doorman ushered us in to calm her down. We were escorted to a table right in front of the stage. The show began, the Hula dancers were great, I could see Mama Loa was enjoying herself.
Then, my friend, the "star of the show" came out and began her special solo number. Right in the middle of her number, Mama Loa arose and began to dance next to "the star". My jaw dropped, the star's jaw dropped but remained calm and performed the rest of her number. I turned red and was expecting my friend to reprimand me, but, she never mentioned the incident. Lucky for me she showed real class. By the way, the crowd loved it, I guess they thought it was part of the show. There was great applause. To this day I laugh at the thought of this surprise. This lovely lady was awesome, I miss her.
Mahalo, Keoni Montes
Thanks for sharing this story, Keoni! Oh, she was so amazing, and full of spunk and class. I miss her too. She taught me to dance the hula. We used to spend hours on the beach dancing, and one time, she showed me how she could make it rain!
All the best,
Thoroughly enjoyed reading you blog on Mama Loa. I thought I knew her well, she never mentioned her early adventures to me. Attached is a portrait I painted of her. What a charmer she was!
Mahalo for a great blog!
Aloha, Keoni Montes
Thursday, November 17, 2011
(She was a dancer in three movies)
Obituary, information about her grave and more photos:
Saturday, July 3, 2010
By Mary Adamski Apr 17, 2009
Article from the Honolulu Star Buletin
As young women, Leilani Kalaeloa Mitchell and her sisters were models for artist John Melville Kelly, whose 1940s paintings captured a romantic vision of old Hawaii still seen in prints and posters of his work.
Mitchell invoked the vision of old Hawaii when, in her mature years, she testified frequently at government public hearings and community meetings. Widely known as "Mama Loa," she scolded lawmakers for plans that would change the traditional landscape of Hawaii. Claiming alii lineage, she talked about native Hawaiian values and land rights in the 1960s and 1970s before sovereignty became a movement.
"She was an activist before most people were activists," said son Charles Kaui Amsterdam. "She was a pioneer in the advancement of the Hawaiian kingdom."
Mitchell, 86, died Saturday on Oahu.
She was a singer and dancer in post-World War II Waikiki and performed with the Ray Kinney Orchestra in New York. She strung and sold flower leis on Kalakaua Avenue for many years.
She had a chance to relive the past in 2005 when several images of her, including Kelly's famous painting "Lei Maker," were displayed in a retrospective show of his art at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Amsterdam said she was active in campaigns to save the Royal Hawaiian Hotel from demolition more than 30 years ago and to preserve the Waikiki Natatorium, a World War I memorial.
"Anything traditional she wanted to save," said her son. "She embodied the song of old Hawaii."
She was born in Hilo. The family gave her full name as Leilani Hiaa Kalaeloa Kaluhiokalani Kalakauaehu. She was the mother of 10 children. She is survived by sons Charles Kaui Amsterdam and Kauka Nui Loa Price; daughters Leilehua Lani Kane, Kapiolani, Naomi, Esther Louise Apuakehau Garbutt and Carol Ann Mitchell; 23 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tabernacle, 1560 S. Beretania St. Honolulu, Hawaii. Contributions may be made to the Mama Loa Foundation, 1415 Pensacola St., Apartment 12, Honolulu 96822.