Thursday, February 16, 2012


Moʻolelo are stories - especially stories that make you who you are.  What I like about this word versus the English word "stories" is that it contains the word ʻōlelo, defined in one dictionary as: speech, word, quotation, statement, utterance, term, tidings; to speak, say, state, talk, mention, quote, converse, tell; oral, verbatim, verbal, motion (in early House of Nobles regulations).  I like the emphasis on words and conversation.

Think of the stories you have for yourself - the stories about your family, about your place, about your own personal history.  Aren't they like a conversation with the past, with your own past?

Sort of ludicrously, I have been asked to talk about my experience of the Hawaiian Renaissance in music.  I was only in middle school/high school.  I am not a musician, not really - even after 7 years in various band programs as a kid and various experiences on church choirs.  To prepare to face the ninth graders with my "thoughts", manaʻo, I have been looking at YouTube videos, thinking about the major themes of love of place, protest, identity - thinking about what songs to share and what to say.

I guess, even though I am not a musician and my only claim to any kind of anything on this topic is having grown up with and loved the music, I did hold this music very dear to me.  I went away to college to the mainland.  I was, in retrospect, ridiculously homesick - a lot of us were, those from Hawaii.  We used to gather in my dorm room and sing for hours - that music was an anthem for us.  Our Hawaii Club t-shirt one year had a high school-ish line drawing of a breaking wave, a girl with a tear in her eye, and the slogan "Far Too Wide For Me", which was a song back-in-the-day about having to leave home, missing Hawaii.  I think the girl had the silhouette of a palm tree in her eye.  I could be mistaken.  It was maudlin, yup.

I know I am not the only 18 year old who boarded a plane and cried as "Honolulu City Lights" by Keola Beamer played in our Walkman.  There seemed to be a whole slew of songs about home - about leaving home, about appreciating home, about how home was the best and most beautiful place.

This old music has become the background of my life - it gets played less and less on the radio as new trends come up, so really searching out resources and remembering has been pretty eye-opening. I am feeling distinctly sentimental this afternoon, but I am also seeing the themes and ideas through English teacher's eyes and it is pretty interesting.  Off to finish my presentation!

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