Helen H. Roberts, ethnomusicologist, collecting mele from across the islands, 1923.

SOMETHING WORTHWHILE HELPING

In this past Legislative session, $5,000 was set aside for the cost to prepare a book of “Ancient Hawaiian Music”. This endeavor has been given to Kamehameha School, and they are now utilizing this to preserve the “old mele olioli” of Hawaii nei. Miss Helen H. Roberts has been sent by the Trustees of the Kamehameha School to go amongst the Hawaiians and to search out ancient mele of Hawaii nei.

She is accompanied by a phonograph [ponotalapa (ipu malama olelo)], and is looking to have people chant ancient mele into the phonograph and to record and save it for generations to come. Not only mele olioli are being sought after, but also wanted are mele hula hoaeae of the Hawaiians. Many years from now the people who know these old mele will be gone, but these mele olioli and mele hoaeae will become something to look back to the history of the Hawaiian Lahui.

This will be something that will look for where the Hawaiians came from, whereas also being sought are mele of other Polynesians while comparing these ancient mele with the ancient mele of Hawaii.

This is something that the old people who are fluent for instance in the old mele hoaeae of Hawaii nei should assist in.

This is not being done for monetary profit, but to seek the ancient things of the beloved Kupuna of this Lahui; and for all Hawaiians who have pride in the fame of their Lahui, there is no reason for them to withhold these ancient things of the Kupuna and to go to the grave without leaving these blessings for those coming after them. We ask Rev. W. M. Kalaiwaa and Rev. William Kamau of the Kohala districts to support this great endeavor for the acclaim of the Hawaiian Lahui. We are also helping to move this project along with what little we have, being that this will help to perpetuate the great Moolelo of the Hawaiian People.

[The opening to the book “Ancient Hawaiian Music” reads:

A survey of ancient Hawaiian music was conducted, 1923–24, by Miss Helen H. Roberts under the auspices of the Hawaiian Folk-Lore Commission represented by John R. Galt, chairman; Edna J. Hill, secretary; Mrs. Emma Ahuena Taylor, Hawaiian member. In cooperation with the Commission, manuscripts resulting from the survey are published by Bernice P. Bishop Museum.]

(Hoku o Hawaii, 12/6/1923, p. 2)

HE HANA MAIKAI E KOKUA IA

Ka Hoku o Hawaii, Buke XVII, Helu 28, Aoao 2. Dekemaba 6, 1923.

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