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Off Track: Do you know the words to Hawai‘i Aloha

June 28, 2014

The Reverend Lorenzo Lyons (1807-1886) wrote the music and lyrics of the Hawaiian hymn Hawai‘i Aloha. Some historians say Lyons was perhaps the most beloved of the missionaries and a strong advocate for poetic sounds of the Hawaiian language.

Most people sing the words of the first line “E Hawaii e kuu one hanau e” and sing the “Oli e! Oli e!” (rejoice) in the chorus. There are three verses to the song with the chorus sung after each verse.

The hymn is often sung at the end of concerts and other local gatherings, with everyone holding hands and raising their hands at the end. The act of raising hands is especially important to advocates of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.

The Reverend Dennis Kamakahi, the local entertainer who recently passed away, created this video of Hawai‘i Aloha. The Kamehameha Glee Club sings the hymn with English translations on the screen.


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