The mele that we share with you, Aloha E Kohala, has a special place in the hearts of each member of Waipuna. Composed by renowned Kumu Hula Robert Uluwehi Cazimero to memorialize a hālau huaka’i, this mele takes Kale, Matt and David on a journey of their own as they pay tribute to this wahi kupuna (storied landscape).
The mele opens with the voice of one of Kohala’s most renowned families, Matt Sproat. Simple and steadfast, similar to his ʻohana’s sentinel presence overlooking Pololū Valley, Matt’s vocal calmly and confidently re-introduces this familiar tune to the audience. In the distance, the beat of a pahu drum signifies the presence of ancestors who have called Kohala home as they continue to watch over and guide the men of Waipuna.
The second verse features the unmistakable timber of a Kamakahi, while the background harmonies of Kale and Matt personify the ʻĀpaʻapaʻa wind swirling throughout the valley. The third verse evolves into a conversation as Kale, representing younger generations (nā kamalei), reflects the desire to push forward and Matt and David respond in the echo of traditions that are grounded in the sands of their ancestral birth.
The last verse of Uluwehi`s brilliant composition bears Waipuna`s signature as each call of Matt is answered by Kale and transforms with David`s entry into full three part harmony, paying tribute to the entire northern region of Hawai’i island (Kohala Nui & Kohala Iki).
A delightful surprise punctuates this original arrangement as the third lines of each previous verse reprise, a reminder that familiar traits of forebears re-emerge in a fresh context, just as a newborn child perpetuates qualities of kūpuna. O ka hala ‘ula a i ka makani, na ka pā mai ʻĀpaʻapaʻa – our kumu weave their legacy by passing down knowledge. They are represented in the red hala and their voices whisper to us in the ʻĀpaʻapaʻa wind. O nā kūpuna wehi mau ʻia, O Kohala nui, O Kohala iki e – our ancestors will forever adorn the lands of Kohala.
A voice of this ʻāina closes with “Aloha E Kohala, kuʻu one hānau e”. We need not have been physically born in Kohala to recognize that the home of our kūpuna is our one hānau (sands of our birth), as well.