Interisland steamship travel was depended upon for transporting passengers and cargo to ports on neighbor islands. In 1879, Wilder Steamship Company added the Lehua to its fleet. This mele describes Maui’s notable places seen from her deck–the windward cliffs, Keʻanae and the bays of Piʻilani.
Composed by Hula Master Johnny Lum Ho, this mele describes how the talented paniolo of Waimea skillfully mount wild bulls and ride bucking broncos until they break. Waimea cowboys show you how to lasso and tie the pipi keiki in record time. Hang onto your saddles as we take you to the rodeo of Waimea. UIHA!!!
This is a mele composed for the founders, guardians, and caretakers of Ulupō Nui. The name was given by Kailua’s current generation of poʻe aloha ʻāina to the newly restored lands that extend from Ulupō heiau to the banks of the once-and-future fishpond of Kawainui.
Court dancer Emalia Kaihumua spent time away from Hawaiʻi while entertaining on the mainland. She deeply missed the peacefulness and beauty of the Islands. The pinching cold and fog abroad are
compared to a lover; however, as her only source of warmth was a fireplace, she is urged to return home.
“Holoholo Wes’side” celebrates the landmarks along the Waiʻanae coast from Kalaeloa to Kaʻena. “Ka ʻIlima” is a tribute to Nettie Tiffany who resides at Lanikūhonua, ʻEwa, Oʻahu. “Kamokila” was
written for Kamokilakawai Campbell who named Lanikūhonua, the breathtaking place, where “... heaven touches the earth.”
This is a kolohe or playful song that uses the ʻiʻiwi bird to seek out the best nectar of the lehua flowers, but he is unable to dally too long in one place. There is also a fisherman, who seeks the “kole maka onaona,” that “sweet-eyed fish” that got away.
“He Mele No Waimea” showcases different places of note in and around Waimea, Kauaʻi. “Nohili Ē draws from nature to express the beauty of love. “(This feeling) is unfamiliar to me, this love that is
happening.” The hālau’s entire performance tonight honors the island of Kauaʻi.
The characteristic features of Koʻolaupoko on the island of Oʻahu are beautifully described in this 1930s mele. The song commemorates the arrival of electricity in Kāneʻohe, the installation of the
telegraph wire and the broken beds of coral at Heʻeia. There is a hint of a delightful love affair.
Hula master Antone Kaʻōʻō, was called upon suddenly to perform for Queen Liliʻuokalani. He recalled an older mele entitled “He Inoa No Kīnaʻu” for inspiration. Kaʻōʻō renamed his version “Liliʻu Ē” and rededicated it to Liliʻuokalani. Often done as a hula kahiko, the wāhine instead choose to revisit this classic as a hula ʻauana.
This is a composition by “Hawaiʻi’s Song Bird” Lena Machado. She penned this mele sometime in the 1930s, and it was originally recorded with Dick McIntire’s Harmony Hawaiians under the title “Hoʻoipo Hula.” The puana of the mele states “You and I are in the beauties of the Koʻolau, in the adorning of the Pōʻaihale rain.”
Kumu Hula Nāpua Greig pays tribute to her kumu, Uncle Johnny Lum Ho. This mele recalls the many uses that are derived from the hala tree. The fruit of the tree can be made into a fragrant lei and the lauhala (hala leaves) are woven into beautiful hats, mats, fans and other treasured items.
This mele was composed by Hiapokeikikāne K. Perreira after listening to the many stories that Kumu Hula Johnny Lum Ho shared with him. The mele is also affectionately known as “He Mele No UJ.” The song recalls Kumu Johnny’s ʻāina hānau, Kapaʻahu, his upbringing in Keaukaha, his love for Hilo and his unwavering faith in ke Akua.
In 1916, Vicki Iʻi Rodrigues’s grandmother, Katie Stevens Iʻi, composed this timeless mele. The mākāhala blossom is compared to a lover. “Come, let us pass the time away, in a close relationship.”
Though there are many flowers, there is only one mākāhala that surpasses all and becomes my special someone.
It was always enjoyable watching Kawai Cockett and his mother “Mama Mahuiki” sing and gesture to “Nā ʻOno O Ka ʻĀina,” a lively song filled with kaona. The different ways of preparing the many types of fish are recalled, along with the kaʻukama kai, the sea cucumber. “Pāpaʻi Hula” documents the ways of catching and preparing delicious crabs found on Kalaʻau, Molokaʻi.
First published in 1917, this renowned Kauaʻi classic is credited to prolific composer Charles E. King. The melody is so well-loved that listeners can’t help but reminisce and often feel inspired to get up and hula. The lyrics suggest a romantic encounter on a swinging bridge in Hanalei Valley on a moonlit night.
“Lei Lokelani” was composed in 1922 by Charles E. King while traveling aboard the SS Maui. This mele was dedicated to “Girlie” Hart (Robinson) who later became a Republican senator from Oʻahu in the Hawaiʻi Territorial Legislature. The beauty of the hālau’s homeland, Maui, along with the lovely lokelani blossoms are extolled in these lyrics.
In this playful mele, the message is not to quickly judge what you see and hear because there might be another interpretation. This song composed by Kekuhi Kanahele is filled with kaona, double meanings, and it will surely bring a smile to those who understand. The dancers will exit the stage with Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole’s beloved mele “Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai.”
Waipiʻo Valley on the island of Hawaiʻi is storied as the home of an ancient line of chiefs. It is recognized today for the acres of wetland taro cultivated by generations of farmers in the valley. In
tribute to Waipiʻo, Kainani Kahaunaele composed this mele with aloha for the quiet beauty and majesty of this place.
Composed by renowned musician Bina Mossman, this mele honors a loved one who is likened to the special lei adorning her shoulders. The sweet fragrance of the lei embraces both lovers tightly. The memory of this beloved lei shall forever be cherished. “My story is for you my beloved lei – With me you shall forever be!”