Lei ‘o Kohala

Author: 
Kīhei de Silva

 

Haku mele: J.R. Kaha‘i Topolinski.
Date: 2000.
Discography: ‘Ale‘a, Origins/Kinohi, Tropical Music SPCD 9068.
Text Below: Kaha‘i Topolinski, personal correspondence, August 15, 2000.

Ke la‘i nei au me ku‘u aloha
Ku‘u lei hīnano a‘o Kohala
A he konikoni lua ‘ala i ka poli
He aloha no ka wahine o Kapa‘au

Ke noho nei au me ku‘u pua
Ku‘u pua rose lani o Kohala
Ua nani i ka waohele o Kamehameha
Honi mai kāua i ke kiluhune o Hauala

Ke noho nei au me ku‘u maka
Ku‘u pua koa melemele o Kohala
Kilohi mai i ka nani o Pololū
Honi ihu mai i ka wai o Kaha‘i-a-Hema

Ke noho nei au me ku‘u hiwa
Ku‘u lei lana mana‘o o Kohala
E ho‘āla ana ku‘u mana‘o ‘a‘ala
Ku‘u ipo me a‘u, ‘au‘au i ke kai o Pololū

Ke noho nei au me ku‘u beauty
Ku‘u sweet blossom o Kohala
Ho‘onanea me ka fancy lei lau li‘i
I ka piko o ‘Āwini ma Hula‘ana

Ke noho nei au me ku‘u ‘i‘ini
Ku‘u lei lehua haku o Kohala
Hone mai ka lihipua o Lilinoe
Nou e ka lei kau i lanakila

Puana kaulana lei o Kohala
Ka hale lau rose o ke koa
Ho‘oipoipo lā me ku‘u ‘ala
Nani nō ‘oe ke aloha ka unu pa‘a

Here I sit with my friend
My adornment the hīnano of Kohala
A breeze stirring the bosom full with passion
For the love of the lady of Kapa‘au

Here I relax with my companion
My royal beauty rose of Kohala
How lovely the uplands of Kamehameha
Come let's romance in the mist of Hauala

Here I repose with my favorite one
My golden yellow koa blossom of Kohala
Gaze above the beauty of Pololū
Inhale the essence of Kaha‘i-a-Hema

Here I rest with my choice one
My hopeful adornment of Kohala
Entrancing memories are recalled
My sweetheart and I bathing in the sea of Pololū

Here I linger with my young beauty
My sweet blossom of Kohala
Content with the fancy lei of small leaf maile
In the uplands of ‘Āwini at Hula‘ana

Here I embrace the one I love
My adornment of lehua fashioned of Kohala
Come, kiss the petals of Lilinoe
For you the adornment placed in victory

Sing the praise of Kohala's famous lei
The house adorned with roses and koa
Romancing, loving my beloved
Beautiful art thou, firm in love's embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Kaha‘i Topolinski

"’Lei ‘o Kohala’ was a song we learned from Kumu Hula Kaha‘i Topolinski. We were the musicians that were backing up his hālau for the King Kamehameha Hula Competition. He wrote this song to commemorate a visit to Kohala in 2000. We all enjoyed performing it so much we asked him if we could record it." -- Ryan Gonzo Gonzalez

Kohala people of times past were accustomed to describing themselves as "Kohala i ka unu pa‘a -- Kohala of the solid stone." This was not so much a reference to the geology of their land as it was to the obstinacy of thought for which they were famed. The descendents of Mahi did not easily change their minds or ways; they held themselves pa‘a with figurative wedges of solid stone [1]. Kohala’s old-timers were also in the habit of saying "‘A‘ohe u‘i hele wale o Kohala -- No youth of Kohala goes empty-handed," a reference to the standard of reciprocal hospitality to which they held their children. The literal meaning of hele wale is "to go without purpose or preparation;" when one travels in hele wale fashion, one imposes on the generosity of those along the way. The beautiful, well-raised youth of Kohala would never travel in this manner; they made lei for themselves and for those they meant to visit, and -- once there -- they willingly joined their hosts in the work at hand.

‘A‘ohe u‘i hele wale o Kohala. No youth of Kohala goes empty-handed. Said in praise of people who do not go anywhere without a gift or helping hand. The phrase originated at Honomaka‘u in Kohala. The young people of that locality, when on a journey...made lei to adorn themselves and carry along with them. [2]

Kaha‘i Topolinski’s festive "Lei ‘o Kohala" combines the sentiments of both these Kohala proverbs into a commemoration of the obstinate spirit of a people who insist on carrying their old-time values and identity into the new millennium. "Lei ‘o Kohala" is Topolinski’s poetic record of "lei" given and received during the North Kohala Millennium Reunion; it is also the lei of words with which Kaha‘i -- as a well-raised, well-prepared grandchild of Kohala -- honors his homeland, family, and hosts.

The North Kohala Millennium Reunion of June 30 to July 4, 2000, was held at Kamehameha Park in Kapa‘au and drew an estimated 5,000 current and former residents intent on reestablishing old ties and "celebrating two centuries of distinction along the Big Island’s northern coastline" [3]. The event supplied the inspiring mix of people, places, activities, and memories that resulted in three Topolinski compositions -- "Lei ‘o Kohala," "Kaulana ‘o Pololū," and "Hanohano Pololū" -- all sent to us by Kaha‘i within six weeks of his return to O‘ahu, and all accompanied by dedications to the beloved Unu Pa‘a of the land in which his fourth-great-grandmother, Mrs. Emma Keali‘ikamakanoanoa Merseburgh was a high chiefess. His postscript to "Lei ‘o Kohala" recognizes three of these enduring "stones":

Composed by J.R. Kaha‘i Topolinski in commemoration of his visit to Kohala for the north Kohala millennium reunion, June 30-July 4, 2000.  Dedicated to Mrs. Ewalina Solomon and her family, to aunty Lei Kahanu Girelli, to aunty Maryann Lim and to the people of Kohala for their kindness and aloha shown to me and Kekoa Wong.

His similarly phrased postscripts to "Kaulana ‘o Pololū" and "Hanohano Pololū" identify four additional sources of hospitality and inspiration: Mr. and Mrs. Kindy Sproat, Katie Merseburgh (Kaha‘i’s grandmother), and the above-mentioned Keali‘ikamakanoanoa [4].

"Lei ‘o Kohala" takes us with Kaha‘i on an exhilarating, seven verse, 28-line tour of the blossoms, breezes, mists, fragrances, waters, leaves, and petals of North Kohala from present to past, from Kapa‘au to ‘Āwini, and from the uplands of Kamehameha to the sea at Pololū. Although many of the poetic details of this journey are personal to the composer, his traveling companion, and his hosts, the mele itself is not closed to us: it celebrates the beautiful Hawaiian women of Kohala, it celebrates Kaha‘i’s ancestral ties to the women and men from whom these beauties descend, and it describes the process by which Kaha‘i re-enters and becomes ever more deeply attached to his motherland.

The mele’s sense of celebration and attachment is conveyed through metaphors of adornment inspired by the 1881 Lili‘uokalani composition "He ‘Ai na ka Lani," wherein Kalākaua is presented with a series of favorite foods -- one dish per verse, each verse beginning with the line "Ke ‘ai nei ‘o ka lani" -- each dish prepared by a favorite retainer, each symbolic of the high regard with which Kalākaua’s people hold him, and each equally symbolic of his right to rule (‘ai) the land. "Lei ‘o Kohala" does not presume to convey ali‘i ‘ai moku status upon its composer; the mele does, however, portray Topolinski in comparable circumstances. He is presented with a series of real and figurative lei -- one per verse, each verse beginning with the line "Ke la‘i/noho nei au me ku‘u [mea]."  Each of these lei-verses is woven of beauty, memory, and emotion. Each commemorates the places and people he holds in high regard. And each adds, in cumulative, lei upon lei fashion, to the mele’s sweet, unrelenting argument for joy and belonging.

The first verse of "Lei ‘o Kohala" finds Kaha‘i in the mental state of la‘i (tranquility, receptivity, O‘ahu-escape) that allows love’s aphrodisiac, the figurative lei hīnano [5], to take effect. The breeze stirs, the fragrance wafts, and the poet is overcome with affection for "the lady of Kapa‘au." Although we don’t know the identity of this woman, we are well aware of the matriarch of Kapa‘au in whose shadow she stands: Kaha‘i’s fourth-great-grandmother Keali‘ikamakanoanoa whose hīnano-like effect on her husband William Merseburgh is celebrated in the 19th century mele "Kaulana ‘o Kohala Wilioho" in language reminiscent of their fourth-great-grandson’s:

Kaulana ‘o Kohala wilioho
I ‘ane‘i ka nani e noho ai
Ka makani wili ‘āhiu
I nā kula o Kapa‘au
Aloha ke ali‘i make‘e ‘ia
Ke aloha o ke ao kakahiaka
‘O ‘oe no ka‘u i ‘i‘ini ai
Famous is the wilioho [6] of Kohala
There is where beauty dwells
The Kohala winds sweep
Through Kapa‘au plains
Beloved is the chiefess who is wooed
A lover of the morning light
You are ever my fancy. [7]

  

 

 

 

The second verse of "Lei ‘o Kohala" introduces us to a rose-blossom adornment of the love intoxicating, misty uplands of Kamehameha. Again, Kaha‘i withholds the identity of this flower, but -- again -- we are well aware of the royal roses in whose company she stands, among them Kaha‘i’s grandmother Kaleilokeokaha‘i Cummins Merseberg and his daughter Rose Wahinekapu Ho‘opi‘i.

Verse two also features the substitution of noho for la‘i in the ke-verb-nei pattern that opens all seven of the mele’s verses.  The use of noho in the six remaining verses suggests that an important transition has been made. La‘i and Kapa‘au in verse one form the threshold over which the poet is transported -- by the hīnano fragrance of overpowering love -- into a six-fold noho-state of complete Kohala-immersion [8].

Once this threshold has been crossed, the lei of Kohala arrive in rapid succession. Blossom and lei follow blossom and lei; place name follows place name. Each adorns its native son; each is permeated with significance and delight. Over the lei hīnano of Kapa‘au (verse 1) is placed the royal rose of Kamehameha’s uplands (verse 2), and over these, the two adornments of Pololū -- one a yellow koa blossom (verse 3), one a lei of memory and hope (verse 4). Over these is draped the maile lau li‘i of ‘Āwini (verse 5), and over these, the victorious lei lehua of Lilinoe’s misty heights (verse 6).

Kaha‘i Topolinski has been composing mele for over a quarter century.  He has long since mastered a poetic style that allows him to speak simultaneously on two levels: on the readily accessible, public level of flowers, fragrances, and locations, and on the never entirely accessible, private level of the people and relationships represented by these same flowers, fragrances, and locations. He has a code. For it, he occasionally provides clues but never keys [9].

Clues to the second-level meanings of "Lei ‘o Kohala" -- to the many ties that bind Kaha‘i to Kohala -- are most evident in the mele’s third verse description of the lei koa of Pololū. One meaning of koa is "warrior." A lei of koa blossoms is a lei of warriors.  Topolinski’s Hawaiian names are Kaha‘iali‘iokaiwi‘ulaokamehameha (Kaha‘iali‘i of the living bones of Kamehameha) and Kauauaamahikalaniki‘eki‘eokohala (Kauaua, son of Mahi, high chief of Kohala); they connect him to the unu pa‘a warrior-chiefs of his motherland: to Mahi‘ololī who led Kohala in rebellion against Maluaee of Kona [10]; to Mahi‘ololī’s son Kauauaamahi who led Kohala against Mokulau of Hāmākua [11] and became "ke kuhina kaua nui i pa‘a ai ke aupuni o Kealani, ka mō‘ī wahine o Hawai‘i" [12], and to Mahi‘ololī’s great-great grandson Kamehameha whose conquest of the islands began with training the warriors of North Kohala at ‘Āinakea, Kapa‘au, in the "uplands of Kamehameha" [13]. These koa, moreover, are all descendants of Kaha‘i-a-Hema, the voyaging chief famed for sailing to the pillars of Kahiki to find, rescue, and bring home his bird-blinded father [14].  When the third verse of "Lei ‘o Kohala" closes with "Honi ihu mai i ka wai o Kaha‘i-a-Hema -- Inhale the essence of Kaha‘i-a-Hema," we cannot escape the conclusion that "essence," in this valley of spears and the koa who wield them, refers to the generative link between the first Kaha‘i, the present Kaha‘i, and all the intervening Mahi generations of Kohala. Kaha‘i Topolinski, in his return to his motherland, re-enacts the "father-finding" journey of Kaha‘i-a-Hema.  What he discovers, through the beautiful women of Kohala, is an overpowering sense of reconnection to his lei koa of maternal grandfathers.

Hard on the heels of this discovery comes the second of his lei at Pololū -- that of hope awakened by memory. Although we aren’t privy to Kaha‘i’s personal wish list, we can surmise from the preceding verses that the lei lana mana‘o of his fourth verse is related to "fathering" and includes the continuity of his own immediate family, the return to Mahi-like vigor of his extended Kohala family, and the return to Kamehameha-like vigor of our nation. These hopes are stirred by a memory of sea-bathing and love-making in the ocean at Pololū, activities reserved for the brave and vigorous at a site known for powerful waves and a circular rip-current called wiliau [15]. Perhaps the implication here is that courageous lovemaking leads to courageous family-, lineage-, and nation-making. Sovereignty, in fact, seems to play a significant part in the subtext of this verse; Topolinski’s "E ho‘āla ana (i) ku‘u mana‘o ‘a‘ala" -- literally, "Inciting my fragrant thoughts, my thoughts of royalty" [16] -- hints at "E ala e ka ‘Ī, ka Mahi, ka Palena," the well-known call to the descendants of the warriors of old to rise up and restore their royal houses. This confluence of words and sentiments is further heightened by the fact that the modern version of "E ala e ka ‘Ī..." concludes with the phrase "a loa‘a i ka lei o ka lanakila" [17]. That same lei of victory makes its appearance in verse six of "Lei ‘o Kohala." A wiliau of meaning is certainly at work here; we navigate it as best we can; with clues not keys.

Verses five and six of "Lei ‘o Kohala" are most obviously concerned with Kamehameha I’s Kohala origins and island conquest. Topolinski directs our attention to the impassable hula‘ana cliffs beyond Pololū, those that frame the Honokāne Nui and Honakāne Iki Valleys, and to the ‘Āwini plateau that lies above them. It was to "‘Āwini pali ali‘i hula‘ana" [18] that the newborn Kamehameha Pai‘ea was taken by Nae‘ole, high chief of Kohala; it was at lehua-wreathed ‘Āwini [19] that this precious "blossom of Kohala" was nursed by Kahā‘opulani [20] and raised by Kekūnuialeimoku; and it was from the Lilinoe-draped mists of ‘Āwini [21] that the five-year old Kamehameha began his long journey to the lehua status of expert warrior [22] and to the "lei kau i ka lanakila" that symbolizes his conquest of the island chain.

But more is probably going on here than initially meets the eye. Fornander names Mailelauli‘i (perhaps the "fancy lei lau li‘i" of Topolinski’s fifth verse) as the wife of Hīkāpōloa, high chief of Kohala [23]; their granddaughter Lu‘ukia [24], wife of Olopana, is linked in the legend of Ha‘inakolo [25] to Leimakani, another ancestor of Hawai‘i’s chiefly lines [26]. Topolinski’s Mailelauli‘i, Hula‘ana, Lilinoe, and lei lanakila all appear in the Ha‘inakolo legend which, in part, tells the story of Leimakani, son of Keaunini and Ha‘inakolo, who is abandoned by his crazed mother on the beach at Waipi‘o and raised in secret [27] in an adjacent valley while his mother roams the hula‘ana cliffs between Waipi‘o and Pololū.  In time, Leimakani marries Mailelauli‘i (a companion of the mist goddess Lilinoe) and has with her the child Lonokaiolohia who is trained in hula for the purpose of seizing "the lei of victory" from Milu, god of the underworld. This lei lanakila is the boy’s grandfather, Keaunini, who has long been held captive in the land of the dead and whose absence is, in part, the reason for Ha‘inakolo’s insanity. After a long voyage and many trials, Lonokaiolohia returns home with his grandfather and restores sanity, order, and happiness to the three living generations of his family.

Many of the themes of this legend -- the finding of fathers, the re-uniting of families, the restoring of royal houses -- are entirely consistent with those of "Lei ‘o Kohala" and are interwoven with the more apparent Kamehameha-allusions of its fifth and sixth verses to create poetic lei of remarkable beauty and detail. These lei adorn Kaha‘i with the names and deeds of his ancestors and inspire him to continue his own life’s work with the same expertise and wonderful, stubborn resolve.

"Lei ‘o Kohala" concludes with an apparently simple description of the famed descendants of Kohala as residents of a house thatched with roses and koa [28], beauty and strength, female and male, mother and father.  Because we have traveled with Kaha‘i the poetic road from Kapa‘au to ‘Āwini, we have gained a small understanding of the storied people and places of which this house is built, of the lei of generations with which it is draped, and of the indomitable unu pa‘a love with which it celebrates the return of a native son. Both the house and the mele that honor it leave a simple, powerful impression: beauty and strength.  But their construction is far from simple and their haku are far from simple-minded.

Kaha‘i Topolinski has never gained the reputation he deserves as a haku mele of the first order. This neglect is due, in part, to our ear-candy tastes, channel-surfer attention spans, and flabby interpretive skills.  We are more interested in catchy tunes than deep poetry. We’d rather flip the channel, change the station, or skip the track than work at understanding a subtlety of meaning or expression. After cursory visits to Pukui, Elbert, Mo‘okini, and Māhoe, few of us know where to go or how to go about it. And there is little marketplace reward for those who know and do. Kaha‘i has regularly been a casualty of his own abilities; the skills that qualify him for high regard are the very skills that remove him from the popular venues in which regard is now dispensed. No Hawaiian poet today writes more in the courtly, late-monarchy style of Nā Lani ‘Ehā and their circle of haku mele than does Kaha‘i.  No one comes close; no one does it better. In true unu pa‘a fashion, he insists on carrying this lei-making skill into the new millennium.  He is a master of the deceptively simple and ostensibly accessible. He is a master of flowers, fragrances, mists, and "romancing." He is a master of hidden identities and relationships. Mastery of this sort warrants an audience capable of fathoming and appreciating it; its recognition requires the audience of a century ago, of Kaha‘i and Anne Topolinski’s great grandparents. Would that we today shared their ear for Hawaiian poetry.

"Lei ‘o Kohala" is an interesting experiment -- something new for Kaha‘i. Because it is married to the tune of Lili‘u’s very catchy "He ‘Ai na ka Lani," because it has been recorded by the very popular ‘Ale‘a, and because ‘Ale‘a’s high-energy, banjo-plucking rendition of the mele [29] is even catchier than Eddie Kamae’s up-beat version of the Lili‘u original, "Lei ‘o Kohala" currently enjoys regular air play and growing popularity. ‘Ale‘a’s recording is the medium by which an elegant Topolinski composition has gained recognition in the market place that usually ignores his stuff.  For now, the song’s appeal rests in the spiffy vehicle that conveys his poetry, not in the poetry itself. We wonder if popularity of this sort will yield a deeper more valuable by-product. Will it inspire the intellectual engagement and interpretive scrutiny that Topolinski’s work has long deserved? 

 


 

Notes:

1.  Mary Kawena Pukui, ‘Ōlelo No‘eau, #1815: "The people of Kohala were known for their firm attitudes."
 
   
2. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau, #211.
 
   
3. Hugh Clark, "North Kohala to mark 200 years with five-day reunion," Honolulu Advertiser, June 25, 2000.
 
   
4. Kaha‘i Topolinski, Personal communication, August 15, 2000.
 
   
5. The fragrant powder of the hīnano "blossom" -- the male efflorescence of the hala tree -- was thought to be highly stimulating.
 
   
6. A coil or strand of hair, as that used in a lei niho palaoa. Pukui and Elbert, Hawaiian Dictionary, 385.
 
   
7. Kaha‘i Topolinski, Nā Mele Kūpuna, Pumehana Records, PS4906; lines 1-8 of 16. From the Merseburgh Family Collection. Translated from English to Hawaiian by Kawena Pukui.
 
   
8. Ke noho nei au is an entirely present-emphatic, in-the-moment expression. It collapses time into a lei of right here and now. Noho, of course, means "sit, reside, dwell, tarry," but it also means "possession by a spirit" (HD, 268). In a sense, the mele describes a two-way, reciprocal noho: Kaha‘i dwells/tarries in Kohala, and Kohala, in turn, takes possession of and dwells in him.
 
   
9. Nor is he above laying a trap or two. From our point of view, the biggest interpretive pitfall of "Lei ‘o Kohala" is to read it as a simple recounting of the amorous adventures of Kaha‘i’s student and traveling companion Kekoa Wong. Youthful dalliance may play a part in the mele, but it does not occupy the mele’s core. Kaha‘i has explained (personal communication, February 1, 2003) that his song is descriptive of two men; one young, the other not; one "doing," the other remembering. The activities of the former, we think, serve to camouflage the epiphanies of the latter; thus does Topolinski misdirect the casual visitor from the essence of "Lei ‘o Kohala."
 
   
10. Stephen L. Desha, Kekūhaupi‘o, 193.
 
   
11. Ibid.
 
   
12. Samuel Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 12. "The great war counselor by whom Keakealani, ruling chiefess of Hawai‘i, secured her reign." "I pa‘a ai" -- secured/made-fast; my emphasis.
 
   
13. Desha, 99. Kamehameha built four hālau at ‘Āinakea where he and Kekūhaupi‘o trained the Hunalele and Huelokū, the two companies of warriors that he later led against Kīwala‘ō at Moku‘ōhai. Desha identifies ‘Āinakea as an area adjacent to Kapa‘au; the chant "Aia ‘o ‘Āwini Pali Hula‘ana," however, puts ‘Āinakea on the ‘Āwini plateau (Pukui, Nā Mele Welo, 30-33).
 
   
14. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, 245-258.
 
   
15. John R.K. Clark, Beaches of the Big Island, 149. The name bears a marked resemblance to the wilioho of Topolinski’s fourth-great-grandmother and forms yet another of the lei with which he is adorned.
 
   
16. ‘Ala and ‘a‘ala mean "fragrance" but are also figurative of chiefs and chiefly descent. HD, 316.
 
   
17. "Until the lei of victory is gained." The contemporary version was composed by Larry Kimura as part of his spoken introduction to the Peter Moon Band’s rendition of "Kaulana nā Pua."
 
   
18. "‘Āwini, the sheer cliff of royalty." The mele "Aia ‘o ‘Āwini Pali Hula‘ana" (Pukui, Nā Mele Welo, 30-33) celebrates Kamehameha’s upbringing, sacred lineage, and kapu nature. The mele’s proud, Kohala-i-ka-unu-pa‘a perspective is clearly evident in these verses.
 
   
19. Lines from the third verse of W.J. Sheldon’s "Maika‘i ka Makani o Kohala" supply poetic precedent for Topolinski’s association of ‘Āwini and lehua: "Mea ‘ole ka pi‘ina a‘o Kupehau / Ahu wale nā lehua o ‘Āwini" -- "The ascent to Kupehau was easy / Abundant [obvious, in plain view] were the lehua of ‘Āwini."
 
   
20. Kahā‘opulani is an ancestress of Kaha‘i’s wife Anne through Anne’s great grandmother Nancy Wahinekapu Sumner Ellis.  One of Kaha‘i’s compositions refers to this Wahinekapu as "the wreath of Kahā‘opulani" who is "well-known in the uplands of ‘Āwini" ("Ku‘u Aloha Poina ‘Ole ‘o Wahinekapu," Na Mele Kūpuna, Pumehana Records PS 4906.)  Kaha‘i and Anne’s daughter’s full name is Rose Wahinekapu Kahā‘opulani Sumner Topolinski. Any mention of ‘Āwini in mele composed by Topolinski must be viewed, therefore, in light of its resonance in the lives of his extended and immediate families.
 
   
21. Lilinoe -- a sister of Poli‘ahu and a goddess of the mists.  Lines from the fourth verse of "Maika‘i ka Makani o Kohala" supply poetic precedent for Topolinski’s association of North Kohala and Lilinoe: "‘O ka ‘oni mai nei ‘o Lilinoe / I ka ‘ohu noe i ke kuahiwi" -- "It is the stirring of Lilinoe / In the misty rain that enshrouds the mountains."
 
   
22. Among the meanings of lehua are "expert" and "warrior." HD, 199.

   
23. Fornander, Race, II:49; Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 34.  Notice the ‘ala names in Kamakau’s recitation of Mailelauli‘i’s descendants: Ua ho‘āo o Mailelauli‘i me Hīkāpōloa, ke ali‘i o Kohala e noho ana ma uka o Pu‘uepa, a na lāua mai ‘o Ka‘ili‘ala, a na Ka‘ili‘ala me Waikua‘a‘ala ‘o Lu‘ukia..." (my emphasis). One wonders if Topolinski’s repetitive use of ‘ala, ‘a‘ala, sweet, honi, and honi ihu in "Lei ‘o Kohala" is inspired, in part, by these names.
 
   
24. Another Lu‘ukia appears on the Kihaapi‘ilani genealogy as the fourth-great-grandmother of the previously discussed (n.19) Kahā‘opulani. Edith McKinzie, Hawaiian Genealogies, 2:44-45.
 
   
25. Six versions of the Ha‘inakolo Romance are summarized by Beckwith in Hawaiian Mythology, 506-54. Westervelt recounts the legend under the title "Keaunini" in Hawaiian Legends of Ghosts and Ghost Gods, 163-223.
 
   
26. Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 34-5.
 
   
27. The Kamehameha similarities, here, should not go unnoticed.
 
   
28. A hale lau x is a house thatched not with pili grass but with leaves of x. Houses of this sort -- hale lau lama, hale lama, and hale lau hau were often reserved for sacred people or purposes. HD, 53.
 
   
29. Topolinski has expressed moderate concern over the tempo of ‘Ale‘a’s recording. He prefers a more gently paced "Lei ‘o Kohala," one in which the words can be more easily pronounced and the elegance of Kohala’s women more easily portrayed. (Personal communication, Feb.1, 2003.) 

 

 

© Kihei de Silva 2003