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Published on Jan 20, 2012
Queen Kapi'olani (1834-1899) wrote this love song for her husband, Hawai'i's last king (but not the last ruling monarch), King David Kalākaua (1836-1891). In 1887, she traveled to London to attend Queen Victoria's 50th Jubilee celebration. Queen Kapi'olani visited many hospitals in London and, upon returning to Hawai'i, she established the Kapi'olani Maternity Home (today known as the Kapi'olani Medical Center) in Honolulu.
Ka Ipo Lei Manu (also entitled He Mana'o He Aloha) is one of the Queen's most noted compositions. She wrote the love song while the King was abroad and recuperating in San Francisco. She changed some of the lyrics upon learning of his death in 1891, transforming the love song into a lament. The full lyrics (which are not in this video) follow: [Translation by Lehua Kalima]
He mana`o healoha ( I have a feeling of love No ka ipo lei manu ( for my cherished sweetheart He manu ku`u hoa ( My companion is a bird Noho mai i ka nahele ( who dwells in the forest
`I`iwi o uka (The `i`iwi bird of the uplands Polena i ka ua (appears yellow in the rain Elua maua (The two of us I ka po ua nui (in the night of great rain
Ua o Hanalei (The rain of Hanalei Anu au ma`e`ele (I'm numb with the cold Ua anu ho`i au (I'm also cooled I ka ua noe anu (in the cold misty rain
Na hau o Ma`ihi (The hau of Ma'ihi `Au ana i ke kai (swimming in the sea Na ulu o wehi (The vegetation Punohu mai ana (spreading out
Ke `ala o ka hala (The fragrance of the hala Hala o mapuana (is borne on the wind Onaona i ka ihu (Sweely scented Ke `ala pua loke (is the fragrance of the rose
Hone `ana i ka mana`o (A sweetly recurring thought E naue ku`u kino (urges my body to travel Ko hiki `ana mai (I am made happy Hau`oli ku`u mana`o (by thoughts of your arrival
Ha'ina ka puana (Tell the refrain No kalani heleloa (My chief is gone forever
In Hawaiian poetry, the sweetheart is sometimes personified as the `i`iwi bird (Scarlet Hawaiian Honeycreeper). The 'i'iwi is an endangered bird found only in Hawai'i. The adult is fiery red with black wings and tail and a long, curved bill for drinking nectar.
Sheet music, arranged by "Sonny" Cunha, is available for purchase online. The audio version of He Mana'o He Aloha was arranged by Randie K. Fong and was performed by the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club 1996-1997, Les Ceballos, Director. (c) 1997 Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate. CD available for purchase at www.hawaiianmusicstore.com and other sites.