Source: Ata Damasco, great grandson of
the composer, Elizabeth Elia Kulia Kaholo Kealoha, affectionately called "Tutu
`Pu`u uala, Maui, known today as `Pu`u ohala.
As Ata was going through
his 'Tutu nui's" mele haku
collection, he found the original words to
this love song she wrote for her husband, in 1935. The lyrics,
in her handwriting is on a piece of paper, old, faded, torn and written
in the old Hawaiian style of syllables with no `okina. Ata has added
diacrytical markings for today's readings
The mele was composed for
John Kealohapau`ole Kealoha
Pihanakalani, known today as Happy
Valley on Maui, who is the Pua Kenikeni of the mele. Verse 1, stanza
3, she sings of his youthful beauty and although he is younger than her,
in her eyes, he's the best. Tutu John was the last boy of 21 brothers
and sisters. He was born when Ata's tutu
kuamo`o (great-great grandfather and grandmother) were in their ripe
68 & 71. The baby of the 21 siblings, he never was raised
them, for they had passed on. Verse 3, stanza 1, his beauty and fragrance,
stanza 3, strikes her nose and she falls in love with him. Verse 4, stanza
1, "Maemae `ole iho" explains that he is not wanted figuratively
because he has no mama or papa,
but it brings out the best in him
to the point she's overwhelmed by it. Verse 4, stanza 2,
'U 'a is a strong, passionate feeling like love or jealousy. She becomes
the mother figure in his life; she mothers him and loves him at
same time, and writes and sings this song for him.
"Tutu Kaholo" as she was called by her grandchildren, always
shared the story
of this mele of how and why she came to write it.
It reminded her of the days
of their first meetings as teenagers that were spaced apart to as often as 3
times a year,
until she ran away from home to get married.
Tutu Kaholo would set the next meeting with Tutu John, by (3) three
moons. Three months
they would not see each other, by the 3rd moon from their last meeting
they would meet and make love, spend time with each other for three days
the full moon under a "Pua Kenikeni" tree. So amidst the love-making,
the scent of the "Pua Kenikeni", maile and plumeria would constantly
waft and engulf them.
The area where they would meet was far away from where they both
at a half-way marker. Tutu Kaholo would run-away from her home for
the meeting of three days with Tutu John. The area of their meeting was
Valley, a little
past 'Waihe'e on Maui.
will be featuring this mele on his next recording, coming soon!