Virtual Classroom: Mele Hawaiʻi

Class Title

Mele Hawaiʻi, Level 1 – Learn Basic Hawaiian Through Hawaiian Song Analysis


“Mele” are poetic compositions: some are meant to be chanted, some to be sung, and some just to be read. This eight-week session will focus on those mele which are sung and how we can learn Hawaiian language through their analysis.


I am sure that you will agree that Hawaiian music is so often emotionally engaging. The reason may be nostalgia, a moving melodic structure, or even simply fun-sounding lyrics. Countless people far and wide spend many hours listening to and enjoying Hawaiian music without ever understanding even a small portion of the language used in its creation, yet they are still “touched” by the beauty of the song. This course will add a new dimension to that enjoyment by teaching you how the Hawaiian langauge is being used to tell stories of love, places, events, and many other things.

Social Bonding

Hawaiian music also frequently provides a setting for social bonding. This might be in the realm of hula, or musicians performing Hawaiian music, at concerts, at competitions, or folks just enjoying an evening together with Hawaiian music playing in the background. All of these realms can be enhanced by being truly able to understand the words and poetry of the mele.

Course Goals

Some of the goals of Mele Hawaiʻi Level I are as follows:

  • listening to a mele and discerning the individual Hawaiian words
  • to learn about and discuss poetic themes
  • to discover elements of “kaona” (hidden meaning) within the poetry
  • learning Hawaiian words and phrases commonly found in mele
  • understanding and memorization of common grammar patterns
  • appreciation of Hawaiian songwriting techniques
  • better connection of the self to Hawaiian culture
  • an overall improvement in the ability of the student to speak and understand Hawaiian language
  • to have fun while learning something new!

Join The Class

The class is conducted via Zoom for 8 weeks once a week on various days (depending on section) and is generally limited to about 18 students per section. Multiple sections are offered to allow for you folks to choose the time that is best to take the class in your time zone.

Please see the ʻŌlelo Online Virtual Classroom main page for currently offered class times and time zone calculations.

Each class will be one hour in length, although it may go a little over if we are having too much fun!

What You Need

Classes are held via Zoom and it is recommended that you use a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a screen at least 9.7″ in size – the larger the better. You can download Zoom from their website or directly from the App Store appropriate for your device.

Kumu Kaliko provides links to listen to the mele we analyze as well as lyric sheets.

Kaliko and his screen will be recorded and the resulting video made available to students following the class along with Kaliko’s class notes. Since the videos are edited to remove most non-lesson material, it can sometimes take a few days before the link is emailed to you.

Registration And Payment

The fee for the course is $80. The Registration Page is now online with seats available on a first-come first-served basis. The waitlist can be used when the sections are filled or the sessions have begin. Class size is limited to around 18 students per section.

If you need to ask a question or find out more, please use our Contact Us form.

We look forward to seeing you in class! Aloha.