Famous Songs Honored
For more than 100 years, love of the land and its natural beauty has been the poetry Hawaiian composers have used to speak of love. Hawaiian songs also speak to people's passion for their homeland and their beliefs.
In 1998, The Advisory Board honored these five traditional songs for their beauty and their messages, which have made them popular, with concert performers and recording artists, as well as the public.
"Hawai`i Aloha" (Makua Laiana)
by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons (circa 1852)
Widely regarded as Hawai`i's second anthem, this hymn is sung in both churches and public gatherings. It is performed at important government and social functions to bring people together in unity, and at the closing of Hawai`i Legislative sessions. The first appearance of "Hawai`i Aloha" in a Protestant hymnal was in 1953, nearly 100 years after it was written. Today, people automatically stand when this song is played extolling the virtues of "beloved Hawai`i".
"Ua Like No A Like"
by Alice Everett (circa 1882)
A love song that compares a lover to the cherished parts of Hilo (its rain, birds and flowers.) Sometimes called, in English, "Sweet Constancy" or "My Heart's Choice", it is one of the most enduring of Hawaiian classics. The song gained popularity all over the mainland US too, through touring Hawaiian musicians and early recordings. In the 1950s, American singing star Dennis Day sang it in radio and TV appearances, and helped to sustain its appeal.
"Kaulana Nä Pua" (Mele `Ai Pohaku)
by Ellen Wright Prendergast (1893)
"Famous are the children (or the flowers)" is considered a sacred hymn opposing the annexation of Hawai`i to the United States. Referred to as the "Stone-eating song", it was written at the urging of then-striking members of the Royal Hawaiian Band who, declaring their loyalty to the Queen, said "we will not sign the paper, but will be satisfied with all that is left to us, the stones, the mystic food of our native land." Soon this famous song of rebellion became well-known throughout the Islands, and is still performed and recorded today.
by Konia & Eliza Holt
The words to this song honoring Lili`uokalani, begin "Profuse bloom growing as a delight". Konia, mother of Pau`ahi Bishop and Lili`u's foster mother, took the words from an ancient chant. Lili`u, thinking that chants were going out of style, asked that music be written. Eliza Holt adapted the music from the tune "Were I with Thee". The song refers to flowers, fruit and grasses in well-known places on O`ahu, and the chorus invites the Queen to "Wear a lei, O Lili`u-lani".
"Nali`i" (or Nä Ali`i)
by Samuel Kauhiwi
An expression of respect and love for the Hawaiian heritage, this hymn was an appeal to Hawaiian societies to honor the departed chiefs. Two famous sayings are found in the verses: Kamehameha I's law of the splintered paddle that guaranteed the safety of women, children and the infirm on the highways, and Kamehameha III's 1843 statement that became Hawai`i's motto: "E mau ke ea o ka `aina I ka pono", the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. This stirring song is beloved by Hawaiians, and still sung and recorded today.