Ipu Heke

The original Hawaiian hula, called kahiko hula, was accompanied by chanting (mele) and gourd drums (ipu heke). At the wedding last Sunday, we saw kumu hula (hula teacher) Susan Floyd play her ipu heke and chant while her halau (troupe) members performed a hula and accompanied the chant.

I like the sound of the ipu heke, it has both a deep resonance from being bumped on the ground and a higher slapping sound. I think they have to grow the gourds specially for this purpose, and a large one such as Susan’s must be expensive.

I recorded a video on my small digital camera and extracted part of the audio which you can listen to Click to listen to sound file here. It’s not high quality and you’ll have to turn up your speakers, but it gives you an idea of the sound. I’m not uploading the video because it is too large and not good quality. Here’s a better photo:

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