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!
(2) “Puamana” from the Mountain Apple Company
- great traditional (original style) version, pacing and harmonies
- note common mispronunciation of “i ka ulu o ka niu” (verse 2)
(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
(4) “Puamana - The Farden ʻOhana”
- includes hula
- “the Farden ʻOhana at the Halekūlani in honor of Aunty Irmgard Farden Aluli”
- singers also mispronounce “i ka ʻae kai”
(5) “Puamana (1991)” : A portrait of composer Irmgard Farden Aluli
- this seems to be only an excerpt, unfortunately, of a longer home-made film
(6) “A Musical Journey ~ Puamana” another portrait of composer Irmgard Farden Aluli
- this is a documentary almost 50 minutes long and well done
(7) “Long Story Short With Leslie Wilcox: Mihana Souza | PBS Hawaiʻi”
- as always, an excellent interview by Leslie Wilcox
- Wilcox speaks with Aunty Irmgard’s daughter, Mihana Souza, about family and music
…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.
Kuʻu home i Lahaina
Me nā pua ʻala onaona
Kuʻu home i aloha ʻia
I ka ulu o ka niu
ʻO ka niu kū kilakila
(He) napenape mālie
Home i ka ʻae kai
Ke kōnane a ka mahina
I ke kai hāwanawana
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.
- Analysis (***starts at minute 7:00 in the video)
Instructional Length: 1 hour
Please log in to download the Class notes.
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