“The mele kake was used for love chants in the olden days. This one is a dialogue in which one sweetheart went to the house of the other.
He chanted this chant and she answered from inside.
Hauonuʻuwai was the place they went to while the time and do as they desired. The kake chant given above is a dialogue composed for Kamehameha III and Kalama. Kalama was a beautiful woman and Kamehameha took a strong fancy to her.
Kaleihoʻohie of Waiohinu, Kaʻū, gave this chant to the writer on November 22, 1923.”
-Thomas K. Maunupau
Translations provided by Mary Kawena Pukui
Hea ʻoe Kahaiolama
Where are you, O Kalama?
ʻAʻole au e puka aku ana iō waho.
I shall not come outside.
He makaʻu mai au lā iā Kaʻahuomanu
I am afraid of Kaʻahumanu
Mai makaʻu mai ʻo ʻoe
Do not be afraid
E hele kāua i kahi a kāua i Hauonuʻuwai e hauolani ai.
Let us go to Hauonuʻuwai, to make love.
He makaʻu mai au iā Kaʻahuomanu.
I am afraid of Kaʻahumanu.
Mai makaʻu mai ʻoe.
Do not be afraid.
Noʻu o luna, noʻu o lalo,
All above is mine, all below is mine,
Noʻu o Kohala,
Kohala is mine,
Noʻu o Hāmākua,
Hāmākua is mine,
Noʻu o Hilo,
Hilo is mine,
Noʻu o Puna,
Puna is mine,
Noʻu o Kaʻū,
Kaʻū is mine,
Noʻu o Kona,
Kona is mine,
Noʻu nā wahi āpau-o-loa,
Everywhere is mine,
Noʻu nā makaʻāinana.
The commoners are mine.
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.
This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services NG-04-17-0218-17