Cultural Knowledge from the Aloha Friday Concert

By Paulina Jany | Copy Editor
Photos by Teagan Maher | Photographer

Kuʻulei Music, student Kukui, and Ikaakamai giving the last performance to enthralled students. (T. Maher)Kuʻulei Music, student Kukui, and Ikaakamai giving the last performance to enthralled students.

On March 31, URH hosted Kuʻulei Perreira-Keawekane, known as Kuʻulei Music, and Isaac Nāhuewai, musically known as Ikaakamai. Both are Hawaiʻi based musicians with a focus in promoting and perpetuating ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiian culture through song. During their performance, they shared cultural information about ongoing issues in Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian culture and language.

During one of their mele (song), Drain the Tanks, they discussed water rights. Kapūkakī is an aquifer in the Waimānalo/Moanalua district that is being polluted by the U.S. Navy at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. The aquifer supplies water for over 40% of Oʻahu's residents. During their mele, Kuʻulei and Ikaakamai talked about rallying together to protect this water resource, referring to the Hawaiian gods Kāne, the god of freshwater, and Kanaloa, the god of salt water.

In Kuʻulei Music's arguably most popular song, Aloha ʻĀina Meds, she sections her ideas into three parts.

Aloha ʻĀina (Love for the Land) has become a popular slogan in the past few years, especially surrounding the Mauna Kea/Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) controversy.

The first part of the song is from Kumu Hina's mele Kū Haʻaheo, a song telling the Hawaiian people to stand proud.

The second portion of her song is her original, while the third was found in the newspaper Ka Leo o Ka Lāhui, and is over 130 years old.

The mele presented used many common Hawaiian phrases.

Aloha ʻĀina means to love the land, which boomed with the resurgence of Kū Kīʻai Mauna, which means to "stand up and protect the mountain," specifically Mauna Kea (Ka Mauna A Wākea.)

The last phrase of the mele was Ola Ka Wai, loosely meaning to let the water live or give life to the water, referring to the need to reduce pollution in the water.

A famous quote from Kamehameha the First was also referenced:

“Imua e nā pōkiʻi a e inu i ka wai ʻawaʻawa, aʻohe hope e hoʻi mai ai.”

Kamehameha said this to his warriors when he led them into battle, and it can be translated as, “Come and drink the bitter water, there is nothing to return to.”

While the phrase took on a literal meaning in battle, with there being no opportunity to turn around, it also means to face problems head on, no matter how difficult or unpleasant they may be.

This performance kicked off a series of concerts hosted by University Radio Hilo (URH) for the last month of the semester.