SINGING HAWAIIAN SONGS
Editor The Advertiser:
As a Hawaiian I enjoy listening to the sweet Hawaiian music on my radio from 7:30 a.m. to midnight. But I agree with many other Hawaiians who I have heard complain about our young peoples singing nowadays. Perhaps there might be a way to help these young generation and also the future generations keep up the proper way of singing our beloved Hawaiian songs and not to murder them or change them as they are being changed by jazzing or perhaps boogle them. Why not keep them as the composer intended to express their feelings. For example the song, “Kahuahuai.” It is not a war chant. It’s a love song telling of their love for each other and how they had weathered the cold together among the fragranted ferns, etc.
I remember the day when I visited one of my old friends and when the Hawaiian program came on the air, the old folks were really angry when the announcer introduced the song as “The Famous War Chant.” There was quite a discussion among us right there and then another song came on. It was Charles King’s cowboy song, “Huehue.” To give you an idea of the complaint in our discussion—well, it’s this way. The second verse goes this way. Maikai Huehue e waiho nei, ea, Hookahi no hewa he ula ole. But the way it was sung was this way: Maikai Huehue e waiho nei ea, Hookahi no he hewa he ulua ole. Perhaps Charles King can make a correction on this. But to us, Hawaiians we feel that Hookahi no hewa is correct in sentence. Another song is “Mi Nei,” a song introduced as “How About Me?” The words goes like this, Ke huli hele ae nei oe, E ake ana e ko ka anoi a loko, Mauka ma kai io ia nei, kau huli ana i ko ka iini, pehea no hoi ina maanei, kilohi mai oe i neia ui. Well, we Hawaiians often think why when the song is sung it is sung as follows (I mean the words are pronounced as follows): Ke huli hele lae nei oe, E ake ana ehe ko Ka anoi a lohoko, Mauka maha kai io ia nehei Kau huli ana ihi ko ka iihini Pehea no hoi i na maanei, Kilohi mai oe i neheia ui. Now if someone was to pronounce any haole word incorrectly, do you not think it will sound as funny? So we Hawaiian people feel the same way and hope that our young people would try to do better in the future and remember there are still some old Hawaiians existing who would like to hear their own songs, so loved by them, some composed by their beloved Royalties and friends, and even their relatives, some of them, and would like to understand what they are singing.
If there are any who do not understand reading or writing Hawaiian, I would advise them to take advantage of the class being conducted by Thomas Maunupau at the Library of Hawaii now being held every Wednesdays at 7 p.m. In writing this letter I do not mean to criticize but only to enlighten our young folks and also to express my felling, including others, in free speech.
(Advertiser, 10/16/1944, p. 14)