Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ku`u Lei Awapuhi



It's time for some Hawaiian therapy courtesy of HAPA

Close the door, start the video, hula your little heart out and then do it again! I guarantee you'll feel better and better the longer you listen and hula. I've reprinted the Hawaiian lyrics and translation below so that you can learn the song and sing along.

Ku`u Lei Awapuhi - Words & music by Emily Kekahaloa Namau`u Taylor

E ku`u aloha e (e o) I call, my beloved (answer)
`Auhea la `oe (e ia no au) Where are you (Here I am)
A huli aku au ia `oe Return to me

Auhea la `oe e ke aloha Where are you, my love
‘Awapuhi pala o ka ua noe Like the ginger, covered in the misty rain
A eia no me au Here, I am with you
I ka poli o ke aloha In love’s sweet embrace

E ku`u aloha e (e o) I call, my beloved (answer)
`Auhea la `oe (e ia no au) Where are you (Here I am)
A huli aku au ia `oe Return to me

Written in 1951 for the remake of the movie Bird of Paradise, this poem was set to the melody of Ku`u Lei Pûpû, a tune the haku mele remembered from her childhood. The haku mele (composer), from Kâ`û, was a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, class of 1915, a scholar, the Hawaiian columnist for the Honolulu Advertiser, and succeeded her husband, William Kaihe`ekai Taylor as the curator of the Royal Mausoleum, until 1961. Translated by Kanani Mana.         Source: Hapa CD
I can't find an actual translation for the title, but that's probably because there's an untranslatable broader and poetic meaning of the word lei. Call a wreath of ginger (a literal translation) does not quite say it.

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6 comments:

LeenaM said...

This was just it, what I needed today!
Thank you, Suzanne!

Suzanne McDermott said...

You're welcome, Leena! You might need it more than I do, up in the North of Finland

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I don't think there's a more difficult language to speak than Hawaian (well maybe) I couldn't pronounce any of the streets signs when I visited there.

Bigmama Cooper said...

wow this song made my day! i think its lovely! much alofaz to all !

David MacDermott said...

I first heard this song recorded by Hapa during my first visit to Oahu in 2007. When I returned to the mainland I bought all of their albums and began to passionately consume Hawaiian music in all its forms. Of many, many songs that I love Ku'u Lei awapuhi is my favorite--soulful and gorgeous. Thank you Suzanne for the translation.

David MacDermott said...

I first heard this song recorded by Hapa during my first visit to Oahu in 2007. When I returned to the mainland I bought all of their albums and began to passionately consume Hawaiian music in all its forms. Of many, many songs that I love Ku'u Lei awapuhi is my favorite--soulful and gorgeous. Thank you Suzanne for the translation.