5 years ago1,000+ Views
Pukui is best known as the co-author of the Hawaiian Dictionary, but she is also credited with composing at least 150 songs in her lifetime, often collaborating with such prominent songwriters as Lam, Irmgard Aluli and Eddie Kamae. The story behind “Pua Ahihi,” according to Pukui’s hanai daughter, Pat Namaka Bacon, is that Lam came to Pukui with the music and asked for accompanying lyrics. Inspired by a relaxing drive in upper Nuuanu, where the lehua ahihi grows, Pukui composed these words about long and lasting love. The romantic piece became a trademark of the Kahauanu Lake Trio, who helped establish the song as standard for hula halau. “The boys knew this was going to be our No. 1 song,” Lake says. “We only recorded it one time, and it took, because we were so in love with the song. Kawena’s beautiful lyrics and Maddy’s beautiful melody—it was the best combination you could ask for.” As the foremost authority on Hawaiian language in her lifetime, Pukui frequently served as editor and mentor to countless songwriters, teaching them about the customs of Hawaiian composition and correcting their Hawaiian lyrics. “Kawena guided me all of those years, in many ways” says Kamae, who sought out Pukui at the Bishop Museum when he first began researching Hawaiian music in the 1960s. “She always encouraged me.” Pukui probably wrote many more songs than she is given credit for. “People would ask her to write up something, and they’d copyright it in their names—she didn’t care,” Bacon says. “She didn’t have too much trouble composing. Somebody would want something, and she would have it 24 hours later. I think it was natural for her, because nobody in the family composed music. It was a gift.”
1 comment
It's amazing that they only recorded the song one time! That's really difficult to do.