1401M Hawaiian language analysis of the song “Puamana”

Introduction

This is a beautiful and popular mele from 1937, with lyrics by Charles Kekua Farden (words) and music by Irmgard Farden ʻĀluli (1911-2001), a well known composer from Maui.

"Puamana" was written for the Farden home (built by Charles on Front Street in Lahaina at a location called “Puamana”; the family moved into it in 1916) as well as to happily reflect on the time spent there as a family.

In this lesson, we will go over the song, line by line, in order to learn some basic Hawaiian sentence patterns and idioms that will help you on your path to speaking Hawaiian language.

Listen to the song and learn more

The following links can be used to hear great versions of this song and learn more about the composer.

(1) “Puamana” with Irmgard Farden Aluli

  • this I would say would be the “canonical” version of the song
  • performed by Irmgard and her daughters
  • danced by kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine
  • video from 1993 - so it’s not great quality unfortunately, but the music is lovely!
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j81g9W-4P6g

(2) “Puamana” from the Mountain Apple Company

(3) “Dennis Pavao ‘Puamana‘ Ka Leo Kiʻekiʻe”

  • a wonderful performance from a fantastic album
  • makes common “onaona” mistake (verse 1) - he says " ʻonaʻona"
  • Dennis mispronounces “i ka ulu o ka niu” (verse 2) and “i ka ʻae kai” (verse 3), both common mistakes
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLZQxHlXggA

(4) “Puamana - The Farden ʻOhana”

(5) “Puamana (1991)” : A portrait of composer Irmgard Farden Aluli

(6) “A Musical Journey ~ Puamana” another portrait of composer Irmgard Farden Aluli

(7) “Long Story Short With Leslie Wilcox: Mihana Souza | PBS Hawaiʻi”

…And there are dozens more…. Just search YouTube and you will see them. The videos listed above are plenty enough, however, to get to know the song and the composer.

Hawaiian Lyrics

Puamana
Kuʻu home i Lahaina
Me nā pua ʻala onaona
Kuʻu home i aloha ʻia

Kuʻu home
I ka ulu o ka niu
ʻO ka niu kū kilakila
(He) napenape mālie

Home nani
Home i ka ʻae kai
Ke kōnane a ka mahina
I ke kai hāwanawana

Haʻina
ʻIa mai ka puana
Kuʻu home i Lahaina
I piha me ka hauʻoli

Video Lesson and Notes

The following video will take you through the entire mele line-by-line. The detailed notes, written by kumu Kaliko, are also available as a PDF. You will learn basic Hawaiian language patterns and vocabulary, as well as the way that the language is used to recount the wonderful memories of the composer's home, Puamana.

Video Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Analysis (***starts at minute 7:00 in the video)
  3. Wrap-up

Instructional Length: 1 hour

Class Notes


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