I was in Aotearoa starting my Ph.D. studies in spring, 2008. Kenneth Makuakāne emailed me and said the De Lima ‘Ohana was looking for a mele to include on their upcoming album. I looked through what we had previously written, most of the songs were ones I wanted Kenneth to hold onto for his next Hawaiian album (Kawaipono) or ones I didn’t think were quite up to snuff. Kenneth sent me an audio file with the melody he had composed, just using the syllables “dee-dee-dee-dee” (as he sometimes does), and I wrote this mele–for my wife Marie–to it the same day, with just a few tweaks done later. I had been reminiscing about the four or five years that we had lived in Waiākea, when our son and daughter still in intermediate and elementary school, respectively. He recorded a demo of it, gave it to Kelly Boy, and when they were ready to record it, we connected via Skype so I could coach Kelly’s daughter Kalena on the pronunciation. Turns out I really didn’t need to; she had it nailed. I just offered a one or two minor suggestions on handling some of the diphthongs, and what vowels she should do when doing her haʻi. Other than that what I heard in the studio that was what she put down on the final version that appeared on the De Lima ‘Ohana’s CD, Kupu A‘e. It gave me chicken skin then, and still does when I listen to it. I’ve not seen anyone choreograph a hula to this, but would love to… someday.
I should add that everything Kenneth and I have ever written together has been done by email or chat (text/audio/skype). We’ve on rare occasions gotten together to tweak things, but by and large we’re never even on the same island when we’re collaborating.
|Aia i ka laʻi o Waiākea||It is there in the tranquility of Waiākea|
|Ka lehua a nā manu e liʻa ai||The lehua that is desired by the birds|
|Ilihia hoʻi au ke ʻike aku||I am awestruck when my eyes behold|
|Ka nani hiehie o kuʻu pua||The incredible beauty of my beloved flower|
|Hū aʻe ke aloha ke honi aku||Love swells within when I detect the scent|
|Ke ʻala onaona kau ahiahi||Of the gentle fragrance that arrives in the late evening|
|Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana||The story is told|
|Ka lehua a nā manu e liʻa ai||Of the lehua that is desired by the birds|