Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today in Hawaiian History: Nona Beamer, Leleiohoku II

by Larry Geller

Her Music and WIsdom now in Heaven

When I started to write early this morning, I thought I was writing about events in the past, things we might want to take note of, especially since the commercial media show no interest in covering the history of these islands.

I didn't know that as I wrote, the news was breaking of the death of Nona Beamer on Maui at age 84.

There is a story in the Honolulu Advertiser, including a picture album, and a link to a short article on tonight's encore interview with her by Leslie Wilcox. The PBS special will air at 8:30 p.m.

A short Star-Bulletin article is here. Others, via Google, here.

Prince William Pitt Leleiohoku Kalahoolewa

Wikipedia On April 10, 1877, at only 23 years of age, Prince Leleiohoku II, heir to the House of Kalakaua, died of rheumatic fever. He had not yet married, so his brother King Kalakaua named their sister Liliuokalani as Crown Princess.

Leleiohoku II is known as the composer of the Hawaiian War Chant, which remains popular today, and which the Wikipedia advises is used by the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.

The song is not a chant and was not written about war. The original title was Kaua i ka Huahua'i or "We Two in the Spray," and begins:

Kâua i ka huahua
You and I in the spray

E `uhene lâ i pili ko`olua
Such joy, the two of us together

Pukuku`i lua i ke ko`eko`e
Breathing deep of the palai fern

As you can see, it's a love story. Check the link above for more about it. Also see Adios Ke Aloha for another of his compositions.

A Wikipedia article on Queen Liliuokalani is here. There are certainly better sources of information which I'll try and locate for the future.

(Many thanks to Scott Crawford over in Hana, Maui, and his Hawaiian Independence Blog, for starting a cultural and historical calendar, on which this is based).


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