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Piano Ahiahi

Chant by Palea


Source: The Echo of Our Song by Mary Puku'i - Kuluwaimaka Papihenui Palea (1845-1937) was born in Na`alehu, Kau district of the big island. Famed for his powerful chanting and keen memory, he was the chief chanter in the court of King Kalakaua. When he was a young man he went down to a village and heard a piano for the first time. After he arrived home he immediately composed this chasnt. At the moment he recalls the occasion when he and his wife saw a mirrow for the first time aboard the sailing vessell Nautilus 


There is an extant recording of his chanting made in 1933, by Kenneth Emory and Theodore Kelsey; reproduced on CD "Sounds of Power in Time". He was the younger brother of Palea, who composed this chant to commemorate the arrival of the first piano in Hawai`i




















Auhea wale `oe e piano ahiahi

Hoa `alo`alo o ke kulu aumoe?


Ho`olono i ka leo o ke kahuli

Leo honehone i ka pili o ke ao 


`O `oe a `o wau kai `ike iho

I ke aniani o ka moku Naukilo


Aia i ka luna i Ma`eli`eli

Ka nene`e a ka ua Po`aihale


Ha`ina `ia mai ana ka puana

Hoa `alo`alo o ke kulu aumoe





Where are you, piano of the night

My companion in whiling away the night


We have often paused to listen

To the sweet singing of the land shells


You and I have gazed into

The mirror on the ship Nautilus 


Up on the heights of Ma'eli'eli

The rains of Po`aihala creep by


The end of my song I sing

To my companion who whiles away the night

2nd verse tips

Alternate transaltion:


O Piano I heard at evening

where are you?


You music haunts me far into the night

like the voice of landshells

trailing sweetly near the break of day


I remember when my dear and I visited aboard the Nautilus and saw our first looking glass


I remenber the upland of Ma'eli'eli where the mists creping in and out

threaded their way between the old houses of thatch


Again I chant my refrain of long ago and a piano singing far into the night


landshells: In the Hawaiian test, this is given a kahuli, the general name for various land or tree-shells. Thir soud resembles the chirr of crickets or cicads. A poestic name for Hawaiian land-shells was pupu-kani-oe, = "shell that sound long"  s0 called in the belief that the "singing" shells had voices.


Ma'eli'eli: The old-style houses were clustered along the cindery slopes above Wai-o-hinu



1st, 2nd, 3rd verses & 4th verse pt 1

3rd verse tips

Start at Tempo


1:36 min mark @ 65% tempo


3:55 min mark @ 75% tempo


5:57 min mark @ 85% tempo


7:44 min mark @ tempo

4th  verse tips

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