THEY ARE TRUE HAWAIIANS BUT THEY CANNOT SING HAWAIIAN SONGS.
Mr. Editor of the Kuokoa Newspaper, Aloha oe:—Maybe at 3 o’clock or so in the morning of Friday, June 11, 1920, that being the birthday of the Nation Conqueror Kamehameha, there came to my home some singing boys, and this was something; it was a familiar thing where on holidays this and that person came around singing at houses lived in by Hawaiians.
Before the singers came, I got the idea that since these singers were coming to my home, I would get up and listen to the singing outside on the lanai like I was accustomed to in past years; it was not long before I heard strains of a guitar, and the singing started, but it was from my bedroom that I was listening.
What my ears heard was a haole song, and when that singing was done, they sang once again, and I heard again a haole song, and from what I discerned, it was a song of the Black [Paele] people. It was then that I said to myself, how amazing, the voices are Hawaiian voices, but the songs are Haole songs, and songs of the Paele people; and with all of these thoughts running through my head, I left my bedroom and went to open the front door of my house, and as it opened, I saw them; “Aloha oukou,” and they said to me, “Aloha oe!”
I asked them: “Are you all Hawaiians, or might you be Haole?” One of them answered, “We are Hawaiians, not Haole.” I asked further: “If you are truly Hawaiians, then why don’t you sing Hawaiian songs; you know that this day dawning is the birthday of Kamehameha I, and you sing Haole and Paele songs at my home.
“Some of you might be aware that I am a true Hawaiian, and not a Haole, so you should sing Hawaiian songs; and not just for me, but at all of the Hawaiian homes that you visit; and when you do this, the hearts of the true Hawaiians will be filled with joy at your singing Hawaiian songs, and good shall be repaid with good, and this will be remembered and not forgotten; forget not the song of our lahui, and let that be the very last thing you sing when you go visiting about.”
After I was done speaking to them, we sang Hawai Ponoi, and we concluded our singing with me embracing them with aloha on this birthday of my beloved king.
These Hawaiians that I speak of before you, O True Hawaiians, have nearly reached adulthood, but the incomprehensible thing is that they do not know and cannot sing Hawaiian songs; they are versed in Haole and Paele songs, whereas these true Hawaiians have dismissed the Hawaiian language and Hawaiian songs.
O True Hawaiians from Hawaii to Niihau, do not forget out Hawaiian songs and our national anthem, Hawaii Ponoi; by the two of you not singing, mother and father, Hawaiian songs with your children, along with teaching them the Hawaiian language, I believe that there are some true Hawaiian adults who do not know our national anthem; and those Hawaiian adults who do not know our national anthem by heart, it is for those people that the Kuokoa Newspaper is giving it away at no cost, in Hawaiian, so that the adults and children will not forget for all times.
Ka Himeni Lahui Hawaii.
Nana i kou Moi,
Makua Lani e,
Na kaua i pale a
Me ka ihe.
WILLIAM K. KALEIHUIA.
(Kuokoa, 6/25/1920, p. 3)