Some comments on “The Queenʻs Songbook”

The Buke Mele Hawaii, composed & written by Lili‘uokalani, is a very special treasure. The last ruling monarch of the independent Kingdom of Hawai‘i, Lili‘uokalani was a prolific haku mele, a poet of exquisite expression, and also a pianist and composer who created a musical legacy.  She penned “Aloha ‘Oe,” which is Hawai‘i’s most recorded song by Hawai‘i’s most renowned songwriter. Many of her songs remain favorites of listeners and musicians alike. During her lifetime, her most well-known songs were published in sheet music, both in Hawai‘i and in the U.S.

In 1897, during her stay in Washington, D.C., lobbying for the restoration of Hawai’i‘s sovereignty (wrongfully seized by foreigners–mostly American businessmen–in the 1893 overthrow), Lili‘uokalani also engaged in three important literary projects. One was her autobiography, Hawaii’s Story By Hawaii’s Queen. (You can view this entire book online, courtesy of the website “A Celebration of Women Writers,” a volunteer effort hosted by the Univ. of Pennsylvania Digital Library Initiative.) In it, she writes of the other two projects. The first that she refers to is her translation of the Kumulipo, an ancient chant which “chronicles the creation of the world and of living creatures.” Of the other project she writes:  ” I have collected a number of my songs, chants, and pieces written or translated by me during the past twenty years or more, and hope soon to put them into the hands of the publisher . . .”

The manuscript titled He Buke Mele Hawaii compiled in 1897 was not published during Lili‘uokalani’s life. The manuscript passed into what is now the Hawai‘i State Archives, and a handwritten manuscript also resides with the Queen’s papers in Bishop Museum Archives. In the 1930s, territtorial archivist Edward Hart and songwriter & publisher Charles E. King edited the manuscript, but again, their labors remained unpublished.

In 1973, the organization Hui Hānai, auxiliary to the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center, formed a Songbook Committee to publish the Queen’s songs. That project came to fruition in 1999, with the publication of The Queen’s Songbook. The handsome volume is truly a labor of love by many many hands–in editing and translating songtexts, in editing music, and in creating performance-ready arrangements of the songs for choirs and vocal ensembles.

While The Queen’s Songbook provides scores and commentary on 60 songs, those contents represent approximately half of what Lili‘uokalani herself compiled in her 1897 manuscript. So, for the record, here is a list of the 108 song titles  in “He Buke Mele Hawaii” of 1897. The order of the list is the order of contents in the 1897 manuscript. Hawaiian spellings are as they appear in the 1897 source. Asterisks identify the songs that are included in the 1999 volume The Queen’s Songbook.

* He Mele Lahui Hawaii
* Ke Aloha a Ka Haku [“The Queen‘s Prayer”]
* Aloha Oe
* The Queen’s Jubilee
* Ka Oiwi Nani
Beautiful One
* Ka Wai Mapuna
* Nani Na Pua
* Puia Ka Nahele
* Puna Paia Aala
* Ahe Lau Makani
* He Pule
* A Chant
He Kanikau No Leleiohoku
Ke Ahe Lau Makani
Maikai Waipio
* Liko Pua Lehua
* Imi Au Ia Oe E Ke Aloha
* Ke Ano Lai Mai Nei Ka Nahele
He Lei Na Ke Aloha
* Tutu
* Kehaulani
* Ka Ipo Nohea
* By And By, Hoi Mai Oe
* Lilikoi
* E Kala Kuu Upu Ana
Ike Ia Pelekane
* Ka Wai Apo Lani
* Kuu Pua I Paoakalani
Hawaii Ponoi
Anahulu
Ke Ala Nei E Mapu Mai Nei
Hooheno
Ka Hanu O Evalina
* He Ai Na Kalani
* Ka Hae Kalaunu
* He Inoa No Kapili Likelike
He Inoa No Kaiulani
* 1. Lamalama iluna ka onohi la
2. A Waimea i ka uluwehiwehi
3. A kala i kupu ai ka manao la
4. A Wailua alo lahilahi la
5. Lulu ka makani ka ikena la
6. Ike i ke one o Halalii la
* He Inoa No Poliala
Ahi Wela
Circling Clouds
* Ke Aloha Aina
Lauahi O Ka Lani
* Mahalo Wau O Ka Nani
* Lai Au E
Uluhua
* Ka Hanu O Hanakeoki
Apapane
* Sanoe
* Pipili Ka Ua I Ka Nahele
* Ka Makani Lawakua
* Ka Makani Lihau Pua
* Ninipo Hoonipo
Na’u No Oe
Pride Of Waiehu
Akahi Ko‘u Manene
Nolunolu Kulei
Aia I Ka Iu Ka Welina
Nani anu Laowili
* Ka Wiliwili Wai
* Wailua Alo Lahilahi
Ukiuki Au
* Kaua O Oe E Ke Aloha
Maoli Io No Waialeale
Hele A Kala‘e
* Manu Kapalulu
* Hooipo I Ke Ao Poonui O Puna
* Ku‘u Lei Mokihana
Kau Kehakeha
*Ke Anu E Ko Mai Nei
Kilioulani
Oliva Taravase
I Haleakala Ka Olu
* Be Still My Heart
E Lili Aku Ana Wau
Sweet Little Linnet
He Ala Nei He Ala
Ipo Lei Liko Lehua
Nou E Ka Aluna Ahiahi
* Ehehene Ko Aka
* He Alii No Wau
* Ko Hanu Ka‘u E Lia Nei
Hosio
* E Ae Paha Wau I Ka Uwalo
Paoakalani
Ike Ia Ladana
Thou E Ka Nani Mae Ole
Hoinainau Mea Ipo Ka Nahele
Kokohi
Nani Haili Po I Ka Lehua
Makalapua
E Poina Ia Anei Na Hoa
Iubili O Vikolia
He Inoa No Kalanikauikamoku Liliuokalani
* Ka Huna Kai
Hoonanea A Hookuene O Liliu
He Inoa Wehi No Kalanianaole
He Inoa Wehi No Kalanianaole
He Inoa Wehi No Kalanianaole
He Inoa Wehi No Kalanianaole
Ka Wai O Niakala
A Hilo Wau E
Pua Iluna Ka Nohea
Fond Delight
He Mele Hula Kielei
Ula Kalaeloa
Pehea Ke Aloha O Ka Ipo
He Inoa No Kalohelani
Ah You Rougey

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5 Responses to Some comments on “The Queenʻs Songbook”

  1. Dahmia says:

    Mahalo nui Amy – You too are a National Treasure for all the wonderful ways you keep ‘olelo and mele alive and fresh for those of us who are less knowledgeable but humbly appreciative.

  2. Norman says:

    Absolutely fantastic!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was looking for something just like this. I was starting to make my own list, song by song as I ran across the citations. You have saved me lots of time. Mahalo Amy!!

  3. Pingback: Singing with the choir « Julia Flynn Siler

  4. Pingback: Mele Hawai‘i — Historical Sources | Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

  5. Rodney says:

    Love this! I watched Eddie Kamae’s film “Those Who Came Before Us”. In it they showed a handwritten manuscript of Tutu by Queen Liliuokalani. I fool around with calligraphy in a style called Zanerian’s Encossers Script. I use a dip pen which I think is what the Queen would have wrote with. I would love to get copies of some of the manuscripts and replicate them. I love handwritten documents. I have a few handwritten music charts, quite different from printed ones. I need to read your blog more often! 😉

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