Hawai‘i Has No Beer?

The folks at the Aloha IBU blog have an interesting post with links to videos of people in Germany during Octoberfest, and they are lamenting the lack of beer in Hawai‘i. Not only ignorant but insulting. They asked for a Hawai‘i version to respond to it, so I offer a verse:


He Guiness ko ka ‘Ailiki                     The Irish have Guiness
No Holani ka Heineken                      And Heineken is from Holland
He pua Tahiti ka Hinano                    Hinano is a Tahitian flower
He aha ko Hawai’i nei?                       What does Hawai’i have to offer?

He mau pia no ko Hawai‘i                       Hawai‘i indeed has beers
He mau pia hu’ihu’i a ‘ono!                       There are cold and delicious beers!
He aha ko Kelemania?                             What does Germany have?
Ko’eko’e ka ‘aina, ko’eko’e ka pia            The land is cold and the beer is tasteless

Verse 2
E ko Hawai‘i nui akea                       To all across great Hawai‘i
Malo‘o i ka mehana la                      Parched in the heat of the day
E kena i ka wai hu’ihu’i                  Quench your thirst in the cool
‘amepela no Hawai‘i nei.                amber waters, from Hawai‘i


8 comments on “Hawai‘i Has No Beer?

Aloha, Professor! Will you help us work on a video for Oktoberfest 2010? Believe we can have a lot of fun while setting the record straight. Mahalo, Nina

keola says:

Aloha. Hehe. Sure. Maybe we should learn and record it at the gathering on the 10th, provided I can make it. This is a work in progress, though, a few things flew into my head quickly, will see if I can do another verse or two.

Mahalo, you are da best!

This is a very interesting cultural phenomenon. The German-speaking countries actually sing this song twice a year: at Oktoberfest and other harvest festivals; and at Karneval, the Teutonic version of Mardi Gras in February.

There are MANY other covers of the song, “Es Gibt Kein Bier auf Hawai’i,” besides the ones I posted — including a head-banging heavy-metal version by the band, Sodom; a heavy-metal crossover version by Onkel Tom Angelripper, and a disco version by the Frauenartz & Manny Marc.

We would like to catalyze the creation of a drinking song that would praise everything about Hawaii (including its beer) and allure Germans, Austrians and Swiss to visit us.

What fun! Nina

admin says:

I’m not so sure about the allure part. In many Polynesian cultures, if not all, there is a tradition of using song to express love for and pride in your land. In some, there is a good-natured (usually) teasing of other places as well. If your home is disrespected in someone else’s song, you reply in kind, you don’t say “come and visit and we’ll show you how beautiful our home is”. It’s a war of words, sometimes done tongue in cheek but still with pride. I’ve tried to capture some of that. It’s still a work in progress, so nobody try to record it yet.

Damon says:

I really need to learn Hawaiian…

My son came home saying phrases as a 5 year old that I don’t understand.

I’m amazed that my own wife does not understand Hawaiian other then what she was taught in High School and only knows the prases that she was brought up with.

I appreciate you correcting any usage that I may use at times.

Professor, I’m grateful for your progress on the song!

It’s wonderful that you are finding a way to tackle Es Gibt Kein Bier Auf Hawaii from an authentic cultural perspective: ” It’s a war of words, sometimes done tongue in cheek but still with pride.” Yes, let’s proceed this way.

As a lyricist, do you envision your verses sung to the German tune? Or will we find an island-style approach?

Someday soon I hope to introduce you to my friend and photo kumu, Michael Lee — http://www.leecaptures.com — who has offered to help with the German translation. He grew up in Germany before returning to his roots here.

Aloha, Nina

admin says:

Aloha Nina. The music I wrote this to in my head is very similar to the melody and chord changes of Es Gibt Kein Bier Auf Hawaii. It’s in 3/4 as well. It’s almost a Hawaiian parody of Es Gibt Kein Bier Auf Hawaii.

Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to make the gathering tomorrow. Perhaps we can work out some other time to meet, maybe at the tasting room some afternoon?

Miliana says:

I think it would be cool if you included a verse or two listing all the brewers in Hawai’i since you mention brand names from other places. There’s one in Kona, another on Maui, and Big Island Brewhaus will be starting up soon in Waimea (aka Kamuela). Plus I heard there’s a guy in Puna (I think) who’s planning to start a brewery using local & organic ingredients (as much as possible).

Another verse could be about the yearly brewing festival. So many people on the Big Island make excellent homebrews, including my husband.

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