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.

 

Hui:

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.

 

Refrain:

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.