The song you need to know in Hawaii
"Hawaii Aloha," written by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons in the 19th century, is commonly sung at concerts and gatherings.
You ask. We answer.
We got an e-mail from HAWAII Magazine reader Candice Sanders, asking for our help in identifying a Hawaiian song:
I am looking for the words and music to a Hawaiian song that is often sung at the end of concerts and also at the end of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. I’ve also heard the song at a recent Keola Beamer concert when everyone sang it at the end of his concert. It is sung by everyone in the crowd, often holding hands, and it’s in Hawaiian.
We vowed this time, we would make the effort to learn the words, so that the next time, we can sing along, but we are unable to remember the name of the song or the person who wrote it.
I am hoping perhaps you can help me.
You ask, we answer.
It’s “Hawaii Aloha,” written by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons in the 19th century. Lyons was perhaps the most beloved of the missionaries and a strong advocate for “the grand old, sonorous, poetical Hawaiian language.”
“Hawaii Aloha” is commonly sung at the end of concerts and gatherings, by everyone holding hands in a circle, swaying to the music and raising their hands at the end.
Here’s a particularly touching video of Bruddah Iz, Israel Kamakawiwoole, singing the song at the end of an informal concert on the Big Island. The lyrics follow. If you can’t memorize them all (and even Iz doesn’t seem to know all the verses), you can always sing the Oli e! loudly.
|E Hawaii e kuu one hanau e
Kuu home kulaiwi nei
Oli no au i na pono lani ou
E Hawaii, aloha e
O Hawai‘i, O sands of my birth
|Hui: E hauoli e na opio o Hawaii nei
Oli e! Oli e!
Mai na aheahe makani e pa mai nei
Mau ke aloha, no Hawaii
Chorus: Happy youth of Hawai‘i
|E hai mai kou mau kini lani e
Kou mau kupa aloha, e Hawaii
Na mea olino kamahao no luna mai
E Hawaii aloha e
May your divine throngs speak
|Na ke Akua e malama mai ia oe
Kou mau kualona aloha nei
Kou mau kahawai olinolino mau
Kou mau mala pua nani e
|God protects you
Your beloved ridges
Your ever glistening streams
Your beautiful flower gardens.