[Photo: Pele Pukui Suganuma with gourd drum (ipu hula); Hawaiʻi; ca. 1962; SP 30108.]

Ē Hina, ē Hinahele

Happy Mele Monday!

Today’s featured mele is performed as a hula ipu and tells the story of a man whose wife was stolen from him by another. The composer likens his rival to a bird who will face a most certain end when he is caught.

(Mele translation and excerpt by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Ē Hina, ē Hinahele, he kanaka hoʻolawaiʻa O Hina,   O Hinahele, where can the pretended fisherman be

Mukukaulani kāna wahine   Whose wife is Mukukaulani

Wahine au mai i ka loa o ka moku   The woman who traversed the length of the land

ʻO hānau ʻia e ka lā lele   Born was she for the day of flight

E ka lā lele me ka manu   For she has flown away with a bird

E lele ana ʻoe me ka manu   You can fly, O bird

ʻImi ana au i ke kanaka i kahi e hāʻule ai   But I, the man, shall seek where you alight

E loaʻa ai ʻoe iaʻu lā ʻeha loa ʻoe   When I catch you, you’ll get a good beating!

Note: This is an old Kauaʻi mele, of the ʻaihaʻa type. The underlying tale is that of a man whose wife was stolen from him. He promises his rival that when he catches him, he’ll give him a drubbing.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 2.9, Pg.5-6]

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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