QUEEN LILIʻUOKALANI (1838-1917)

Ka Wai Māpuna [Bubbling Spring Water] (1876)

Arranged By Moon Kauakahi

Orchestrated By David Kauahikaua

This song was composed in Lahaina, Maui, on one of three trips Liliʻuokalani made to the area between 1857 and 1860. Taken literally, it speaks of Hiku, the mother of Maui, as she descended from the heights for a drink of sparkling water or “wai olohia.” In terms of “kaona” (hidden meaning), it is a love song, with the chorus suggesting robust ribaldry, or coarse humor, especially the “e-he-h-he.” (Moon Kauakahi)

Ka wai māpunapuna lā

E naue mālie nei i ka laʻi

Lipolipo launa ʻole lā

Kauwahi ʻale ʻole iho.

 

Lei ana Hiku i ka noe lā

Hoʻohihi Līhau i ka lipo lā

Ānehe ʻo ia ala e inu lā

Ka wai ʻula ʻiliahi.

 

Hui:

Kokōhi, e-he-he-he

I ka ʻono, e-he-he-he

Unahe i ka poli

Ka wai o Lohia

Paheʻe, e-he-he-he

Ka momoni, e-he-he-he

A he ʻolu ka ihona iho.

 

Iā ʻoe ka ʻuhene e ka wai

Ka nēnē liʻiliʻi i ke kulu aumoe

Hoʻolaʻi Kauaʻula lā

Kālele nuʻa i ka palai.

*Compiled by Michael-Thomas Foumai. Digitally published for the Hawaiʻi Symphony Sheraton Starlight Series on June 4-6 2021.

The spring water churns leisurely

Stirring quietly in the calm

A deep, rich blue color not seen before

Revealing hardly a ripple.

 

Hiku is wreathed by mist

That enraptures the deep forest heights of Līhau

Quietly, she approaches to sip

From the pool of fire-red color.

 

Refrain:

Restrain, <giggling>

The craving, <giggling>

That which washes softly against the bosom

The bubbling spring water

Smoothly, <giggling>

Gliding across the tongue, <giggling>

Feeling cool as it goes down.

 

This flirting tune is for you, O water

Slowly being allured in the late night

Kauaʻula reposes peacefully

Upon a bed of thick ferns.