This mele is about beloved Waikīkī and its whispering sea. The scent of limu līpoa (seaweed) is carried on a gentle breeze. “Your name is famous to visitors, all your beauty known around the world.” The mele was given to Helen Ayat by her mother who was a lady-in-waiting to Kūhiōʻs wife, Princess Kahanu.
Haku mele Robert Uluwehi Cazimero declares his aloha for Kaua‘i in the words “My love forever returns to Kaua‘i afloat in the sea.” Following a visit to Hanalei, Limahuli, Makan and Hā‘ena in the moku of Halele‘a, he returns to O‘ahu and pays loving tribute to wahi pana (legendary places) on Kaua‘i in this mele.
This original composition by Kumu Carlson Kamaka Kukona III takes us on a huaka‘i (trip) to the lush northeastern shore of Kaua‘i. The song documents the journey to Limahuli and Kē‘ē with this kumu, Mae Kamāmalu Klein and members of their Papa ‘Ūniki ‘Ōlena in June of 2000. The view seen from upland Limahuli Gardens inspired this composition.
In 1958, well-respected kupuna Katherine Maunakea composed this mele for a benefit concert held in honor of singer, musician and songwriter, Lena Machado. Machadoʻs extraordinary muscial talents earned her the title “Hawai‘i Songbird.” Her name is a “famous name whose beauty is not to be forgotten, warm with much love.”
In this newly composed mele pana (song of a legendary place), the wāhine take us on a huaka‘i (trip) that honors O‘ahu, the heart of the Hawaiian Islands. In each paukū (verse), we celebrate the different moku (districts) by showcasing their unique qualities and natural features. Glorious is the choice “gem of the seas; beloved is O‘ahu, O‘ahualua.”
Mokulua is the old name for the two islands that lie about a mile off the Ka‘ōhao shoreline of Kailua, O‘ahu. Today, they are called the Twin Islands and the Mokes. The song “Mokulua” is meant, in part, to put the traditional place-names of Ka‘ōhao back in the ears and mouths of our children before the old ties of aloha ‘āina unravel into ainokea.
Like the glistening olivine crystals embedded on Diamond Head, the stars form a lei to adorn Waikīkīʻs famous landmark. Composer Mary Pūla‘a Robins writes not only of her lei of stars but also of a lei with a single blossom and a yellow feather lei that is highly esteemed. Her words are affectionately written and hint at a romantic pairing.
“Nā Kuahiwi Kaulana” is a composition of the famed Kohala native and falsetto poet Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln. The mele celebrates the extent of Lincolnʻs home – from the heights of Mauna Kea, Kaulana” with Bell Records [LKS 245] in 1947.
In September 2007, Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong composed this mele as a rallying call to unite. “Be honored always, oh beloved descendants of the land. The new dawn for our people of Hawai‘i is upon us...” The men dance to pay tribute to the kūpuna and the descendants of this land.
Written by Hula Master Johnny Lum Ho, this mele takes us on a bus ride around the island of Moloka‘i. It was composed for dear friend, Kumu Hula Moana Dudoit, who shows us the beauty of Moloka‘i from the seats of her bus as it travels up and down the roads of Mana‘e and Hālawa. Hold on to your seats and get ready because da bus coming!
This is a mele lovingly composed by Kumu Paredes for his Tūtū wahine, Mary Kaleleiki Lee. Affectionately known to her ‘ohana as Mele, she was born in Maunawili Valley, O‘ahu. She was raised there by her maternal grandfather, Samuel Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi Kaleleiki. Tūtū Mele shared many stories of her childhood growing up in Maunawili.
Kumu Paredes wrote this composition for ‘Ele‘io, the messenger of Chief Kaka‘alaneo, whose court was at Keka‘a on West Maui. At the request of his chief, who was ‘ono for ‘awa from Waiohue, ‘Ele‘io runs to the Ko‘olau side of the island. He encounters the beautiful, mysterious Kanikani‘ā‘ula, and is unable to complete his task.
Initially intended for a single beloved blossom, through almost four decades, this mele aloha has transformed into the needle and thread that fashion a cherished lei of three generations of wāhine hula in Uncle Glenn Kelena Vasconcellosʻ ‘ohana. This mele aloha evokes Kelenaʻs affection and admiration for those who are precious to him.
“Kukunaokalā” is credited to Rosalie Flores, who was a renowned soloist and member of the Royal Hawaiian Glee Club, and to co-composer Johnny Noble. The sentiments venerate natural elements and celebrate the sunshine, rainbow, clouds and ocean as the distinctive apparel of our island home.
Late composer and pianist Momi Jones describes Kui (Kukui) Tree Dam located in the mountains above Lake Wilson in Wahiawā, O‘ahu. Here, kukui trees stand guard and “voices of birds are heard; sending sweet calls in the early morning.” It is at Kukui Tree Dam that the composer was courted by her husband.
“Hawai‘iʻs Songbird,” Lena Machado, was a huge fan of Latin music, its rhythms and instrumentation. She wanted to “celebrate the way that two different cultures could respect and enjoy each other.” In 1937, she wrote the original version of “E Ku‘u Baby Hot Cha-Cha,” a song with a Latin feel but utilizing her typicallly Hawaiian poetic technique.