QUEEN LILIʻUOKALANI (1838-1917)
Ka Wai ʻApo Lani [Heavenly Showers] (1896)
Arranged By Moon Kauakahi
Orchestrated By David Kauahikaua
In composing this song, the Queen drew upon her immense reservoir of pride in her royal ancestry, her emotional outpouring and display of rank and authority in order to cope with her sense of loss, and her struggle to regain her kingdom. Ka Wai ʻApo Lani also means “taro-leaf-caught raindrops,” referring to an ancient belief that rainwater caught in this manner, without touching the ground, is pure and fit for the gods and important ceremonies. She associated herself with that sacred water, as well as with taro and fire, her family kapu. (Moon Kauakahi)
Me he alo ala o ka wai
Ka mākolu o ka wai ʻapo lani
Ka walu o nā lani ka ʻao nōʻā
Ka lalapa ka ʻena kū moku.
Ulu hoʻāliʻi ka lani
Ka hoaka lei hiwahiwa
Ua ola kuʻu kini, ua nui ka ʻālana
Me kuʻu lāhui ponoʻī.
A hiki mai ke aloha
ʻAe pono mai ana
Ke kāheka kai kapu a Kāne
Ka mole, ke aʻa o ka ʻaina.
He mānai kōmi ka leo
Mai ʻena ʻoe i ke kānaka
ʻOiai ke kuleana i loko
ʻOi lēhau i ka makemake
*Compiled by Michael-Thomas Foumai. Digitally published for the Hawaiʻi Symphony Sheraton Starlight Series on June 4-6 2021.
Reminiscent of being in the presence of water
Is the heavy presence of royal raindrops
The eighth of the rulers is the taro-leaf sacrifice
The leaping flames, the ruling glow of the land.
It possesses chiefly deportment with her majesty
The precious crescent lei
My subjects find relief, the offerings, heart-given
The foundation, the root of the land.
When companion arrives
There will be full approval
From Kāne’s pool of sacred waters
Be the firm foundation of the land.
Words come like a pressing needle
Don’t shy away from your subjects
While you have this responsibility
And feel so strongly about this.