December 31, 2013

On Friday, April 26, 2013, at noon, Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities and Royal Hawaiian Band presented Mele Lāhui Performed by the Royal Hawaiian Band on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace.

The Mele Lāhui (National Songs) concert used music compositions to tell the story of nationalism from the deposed Queen Lili‘uokalani’s and from the Hawaiian people’s points of view.  Guest presenters, Puakea Nogelmeier, professor of Hawaiian Language, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities Board Director; Aaron Mahi, Hawaiian classical music expert; and Martha Noyes, writer, joined the Royal Hawaiian Band to introduce the program’s songs.

This program was inspired by an essay entitled “We Will Eat Stones,” by Martha Noyes, published in the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities’ anthology, We Go Jam: Celebrating Our Music, Our Soundscape, Our Hawai‘i.  Noyes’ essay narrates the creation of the song “Mele ‘Ai  Pōhaku (We Will Eat Stones)” arranged in 1893 when members of the Royal Hawaiian Band refused to sign an oath of loyalty to the newly established Republic of Hawai‘i after Queen Lili‘uokalani was overthrown.  Because of the story’s reference to the Band, the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities sought to expand the themes into a program with the Royal Hawaiian Band.

Concert Program

Pū Kani and Oli

Hawai‘i Pono‘ī
King Kalākaua and Henry Berger

Puakea Nogelmeier, Guest Presenter

Ke Aloha O Ka Haku
Queen Lili‘uokalani / arranged by Lloyd Krause, featuring Malia Ka‘ai, vocalist

Ku‘u Pua I Paoakalani
Queen Lili‘uokalani / arranged by Jack de Mello, featuring Nina Keali‘iwahamana, vocalist, and Pi‘ilaniwahine Smith, dancer

Aaron Mahi, Guest Presenter

Nā Ali‘i
Samuel Kuahiwi / arranged by Harris Ichida, featuring Royal Hawaiian Band Glee Club and Aaron Mahi

Ka Na‘i Aupuni
Traditional / arranged by Steven Agasa, featuring Aaron Mahi, vocalist

Martha Noyes, Guest Presenter

Mele ‘Ai Pōhaku
Ellen Prendergast / arranged by Dale Senaga, featuring Misty Kela‘i, vocalist, and Pi‘ilaniwahine Smith, dancer

Aloha ‘Oe
Queen Lili‘uokalani / arranged by Bill Wiley

Mele Lāhui Booklet

A special booklet was produced containing essays about the pieces, written by the speakers, along with song lyrics and translations, and historical images.

Copyright © 2013 by Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities.  All rights reserved.  Any use of the material, including reproduction in whole or in part requires permission in writing.


Hawai‘i State Archives, Photograph Collection.

Hui Hānai. The Queen’s Songbook. Honolulu: Hui Hānai, 1999. Print.

Nordyke, Eleanor C., and Martha H. Noyes. “Kaulana Nā Pua: A Voice for Sovereignty.” Hawaiian Journal of History 27 (1993): 27-42.

Testo, Francisco Jose, ed. Buke Mele Lahui. Honolulu: Paiia ma ka Halepai Makaainana, 1895.

Wilcox, Carol, Vicky Hollinger, Kimo Hussey, and Puakea Nogelmeier. He Mele Aloha: A Hawaiian Songbook. 2008. Honolulu: ‘Oli ‘Oli Productions, L.L.C., 2003. Print.

More Resources

‘Iolani Palace

Lili‘uokalani Trust

Hawaiian Mission Houses Archives

Royal Hawaiian Band