Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Ke akua i ka uwalo
Hawaiian musical traditions are essentially vocal. Percussion musical instruments are never played alone, but always accompany chanting and dnacing. The "mele", or chanted poetry, is performed in a variety of styles. This song, "Ke akua i ka uwalo" is known as a mele hula, a text chanted to the accompaniment of dance, and sometimes, instruments. To hear a clip of this Hawaiian drum dance chant, click on the "play music" button above.
A Hamakua au 'ike i ka pali
E kau ana ka wa'a o Kamo'okala
E pi'i ana ke kai i ke kumu pali
E momoku ana i ke oho kai hinahina
Ho'omaui ana i luna o ka pali
Ho'olele lele kohola
Lele kaha i ke ala
Kaha i ka pali
Ho'omanawale'a ana Ka'u
Pale ka 'ula ho'I Hamakua.
At Hamakua I see the cliff
The canoe of Kamo'okala lands
The sea rises against the cliff
Breaking down the leaves of the heliotrope.
As the sea breaks against the cliff
Leaping, lifting the whale on its crest
Leaping sidelong by the way
Ending at the cliff
It gives blessings to the land Ka'u
Warding off evil as it returns to Hamakua.
"A Hamakua au 'ike i ka pali" sung by Hoakali Kamau'u with Kawaiokawaawaa Akim on 'Hawaiian Drum Dance Chants: Sounds of Power in Time.' Smithsonian/Folkways Records SF 40015, 1989. Provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (SFW40015_115). Used by permission.