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.
I ka ʻono, e-he-he-he
Unahe i ka poli
Ka wai o Lohia
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.
The craving, <giggling>
That which washes softly against the bosom
The bubbling spring water
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.