[Photo: View of coastal Kawaihae, Hawaiʻi; ca. 1908; SP 101273]

Aia i Kohala kaʻu aloha

Happy Mele Monday!

Contributed to the collection by Kapeliela Malani of Kawaihae, Kohala, today’s composition is a mele aloha. Alluding to emotions of grief and hope, the composer of this mele expresses the deep pain of discovering the unfaithfulness of a lover while holding on to the hope that they might be reunited in love.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Aia i Kohala kaʻu aloha,
My sweetheart is in Kohala,

Ka ua nāulu o Kawaihae.
With the wind-borne rain of Kawaihae.

Hae ana Wapine i ke aumoe,
Wapine sets up a barking late at night,

Ka ʻīlio hanu hele ma ka meheu.
That dog that sniffs at the footprints.

Na ke kelepona i haʻi mai
It was the telephone who told me

Ua noho hope ʻoe no kō lei.
That you are again with your darling.

I laila kulu iho kuʻu waimaka
Then my tears began to gather

Hoʻopulu ana i ka lau lihilihi.
Wetting the tips of my lashes.

He lihi kuleana koʻu iā ʻoe,
I have some right to you,

Ua hoʻopaʻa ʻia i ka puʻuwai.
For you are imprinted in my heart.

Na wai ʻole koʻu aloha
How can I help loving

I ka ua loku mai i ka nahele.
The rain that pours in the forest.

Ō hele i ka lā o ke kauoha,
Go and obey the command given you,

A hoʻi mai ʻoe pili kāua.
Then come back to be with me.

ʻO ʻoe a ʻo wau kai ʻike iho
You and [I] have known

I nei mea nui lā, he aloha,
This great thing called love.

Haʻina mai ana ka puana
This end[s] my chant

ʻEono nō pua lawa kuʻu lei
For the six flowers that completes my lei.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 2.5, pg. 26b-29a]

Mele are an invaluable primary resource for Hawaiian scholarship and cultural connection. The Welo Hou: Building Connections to the Roberts Mele Collection project, funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will improve the digitization, indexing, and accessibility of a unique and treasured collection of mele dating from pre-Western contact to the early 1900s. This pilot project will serve as a model for improved access to and increased engagement with the Bishop Museum Library & Archives’ other mele collections.

Welo Hou, or to unfurl once again, aims to provide more opportunities for researchers of all levels of Hawaiian language and cultural fluency to access the Roberts Collection with ease, and honors the connections between Hawaiian voices of the past and our community of the present.

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