Pu ʻOhe/Ohe Hano Ihu (Nose Flute)
Hand Crafted in Hawaii with Hawaiian Bamboo, each piece is Unique in size shape and Color.
‘Ohe hano Ihu, the Hawaiian nose flute By Leilehua Yuen
The bamboo nose flute is found on many island groups in the Pacific. In Hawai`i, it is considered a sweetheart’s instrument. It is not a loud instrument, rather, the tone is intended to be soft and sweet. Traditionally, it is not played in concert for a large audience, but played in a quiet place for someone special. A few generations back, a Hawaiian youth interested in courtship would fashion a simple flute. The romantic would take a length of bamboo and cut it, leaving a node on one end, and cutting the node off the other. He would take a burning hardwood twig and use it to burn a breath hole, and finger holes, in the flute. The spacing of the holes and the length of the flute would be determined by what the suitor believed to be an attractive tuning to be enjoyed by the object of his affections. He would then carefully sand the flute and burnish it with oil. Each flute, and its song, was as unique as the young romantic who crafted it.
Once finished, he would play the flute to attract the attention of the beloved. If she liked him, she would make a point of remembering the distinct sound of his melody. Then, when he wanted to attract her attention, he would softly play his flute to entice her to join him. Sometimes, a young woman would make a flute of her own to entice or reply. The flute was thus used to communicate messages between lovers. According to one legend, a god taught a young chief to make the nose flute so that he could court a beautiful girl from the valley below his upland court. The nose flute is found in many Hawaiian legends of courtship and romance.