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Aloha Oe by William Smith and Walter K. Kolomoku, 1915
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"Aloha ʻOe" (Farewell to Thee) is Liliʻuokalani's most famous song and a common cultural symbol for Hawaii. The story of the origin of the song has several variations. They all have in common that the song was inspired by a notable farewell embrace given by Colonel James Harbottle Boyd during a horseback trip taken by Princess Liliʻuokalani in 1877 or 1878 to the Boyd ranch in Maunawili on the windward side of Oʻahu, and that the members of the party hummed the tune on the way back to Honolulu. Different versions tell of alternate recipients of the embrace — either Liliʻuokalani's sister Princess Likelike Cleghorn or a young lady at the ranch. According to the most familiar version of the story:
This tender farewell set Liliʻuokalani to thinking, and she began humming to herself on the homeward trip. Overhearing, Charles Wilson observed, "That sounds like The Lone Rock by the Sea," a comment with which Liliʻuokalani is said to have agreed. When the party paused to rest in an orange grove on the Honolulu side of the Pali, the others joined in the hummings, and the song was completed later at Washington Place.
The Hawaiʻi State Archives preserves a hand-written manuscript by Liliʻuokalani, dated 1878, with the score of the song, the lyrics, Liliʻuokalani's English translation, and her note evidently added later: "Composed at Maunawili 1878. Played by the Royal Hawaiian Band in San Francisco August 1883 and became very popular."
A catalogue issued by Columbia Records in 1901 mentioned two wax cylinders labeled "Vocal Solos in Hawaiian", containing the earlier recordings of "Aloha ʻOe" and "Kuʻu Pua I Paoakalani". However, it is uncertain if this was recorded in Hawaii or if the performer was Hawaiian and the cylinders are now lost. Columbia Records later recorded a duet of the song by Nani Alapai and Henry N. Clark in 1911. A 1913 score can be seen at the Levy Sheet Music Collection.
|Haʻaheo e ka ua i nā pali||Proudly swept the rain by the cliffs|
|Ke nihi aʻela i ka nahele||As it glided through the trees|
|E hahai (uhai) ana paha i ka liko||Still following ever the bud|
|Pua ʻāhihi lehua o uka||The ʻāhihi lehua of the vale|
|Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe||Farewell to thee, farewell to thee|
|E ke onaona noho i ka lipo||The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers|
|One fond embrace,||One fond embrace,|
|A hoʻi aʻe au||'Ere I depart|
|Until we meet again||Until we meet again|
|ʻO ka haliʻa aloha i hiki mai||Sweet memories come back to me|
|Ke hone aʻe nei i||Bringing fresh remembrances|
|Kuʻu manawa||Of the past|
|ʻO ʻoe nō kuʻu ipo aloha||Dearest one, yes, you are mine own|
|A loko e hana nei||From you, true love shall never depart|
|Maopopo kuʻu ʻike i ka nani||I have seen and watched your loveliness|
|Nā pua rose o Maunawili||The sweet rose of Maunawili|
|I laila hiaʻia nā manu||And 'tis there the birds of love dwell|
|Mikiʻala i ka nani o ka liko||And sip the honey from your lips|
The song "The Lone Rock by the Sea", recalled by Charles Wilson as "The Rock Beside the Sea" and published by Charles Crozat Converse in 1857, derives from a Croatian folk song, "Sidi Mara Na Kamen Studencu" ("Girl on the Rock").[clarification needed]
Musicologist Sigmund Spaeth noted that the first two measures of the melody of the chorus (which are arpeggiated IV-I chords) resemble the chorus of George Frederick Root's 1854 song "There's Music in the Air," but measures 3 and 4 differ from it.
In popular culture
In the Disney film Lilo & Stitch (2002), the song is sung briefly by the character Nani Pelekai (voiced by Tia Carrere) as a means to say goodbye to her sister Lilo, as they were going to be separated from each other by then. It is sung again in its franchise's fourth film Leroy & Stitch (2006) by Lilo (Daveigh Chase), Stitch (Chris Sanders), and Reuben (Rob Paulsen) to shut down the Leroy clones. The song also appears on the soundtrack of Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005).
The song also plays in many episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, albeit in instrumental form.
In the first episode of the 1963 Hanna-Barbera cartoon; Top Cat entitled "Hawaii, Here We Come", at the start of the episode, Benny the Ball sings the song, after winning a free trip to Hawaii, sometime later Officer Dibble also sings the song. They both however replace some of the lyrics with English ones.
"Aloha 'Oe" appeared in the scores of many of Warner Bros.' classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, as composer Carl Stalling's stock musical cue for Hawaii-themed gags. Usually instrumental, but Bugs Bunny actually sings one line of the refrain at the very end of Case of the Missing Hare. Also, in the 1953 cartoon short, Duck Amuck part of it is briefly sung by Daffy Duck when the scenery is changed to a Hawaiian setting, courtesy of a sadistic mystery animator.
When Jiang Zemin, then-Chinese President and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, arrived at Hawaii at the beginning of his state visit to U.S. in October 1997, he played "Aloha ‘Oe" with a Hawaiian lap steel guitar and invited then Hawaiian First Lady Vicky Cayetano to sing the song at a dinner with the presence of Governor Ben Cayetano. Jiang recounted that he used to frequently play this song when he was in college in 1940s.
This song is also partially sung in the movie Train to Busan by one of the main characters, and is also instrumental in the film's conclusion.
- The Queen's Songbook, by Her Majesty Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hui Hanai, Honolulu, 1999, pp. 38-39
- Aloha Oe
- Kelsey, Theodore. 1927. "The Queen's Poem — 'Aloha ʻOe,' by Liliuokalani," Paradise of the Pacific 40: 4. Cited in The Queen's Songbook by Her Majesty Queen Liliʻuokalani. Hui Hanai, Honolulu, 1999. Dorothy Kahananui Gillett, text and music notation; Barbara Barnard Smith, Editor. Also, see Aloha Oe
- Schmitt, Robert C. (1978). "Some Firsts in Island Leisure". The Hawaiian Journal of History. Honolulu: Hawaiian Historical Society. 12: 99–119. OCLC 60626541. hdl:10524/376.; Schmitt, Robert C. (1995). "Notes & Queries – TIn Foil and Wax: Hawaiʻi's First Phonograph and Records". The Hawaiian Journal of History. Honolulu: Hawaiian Historical Society. 29: 183–186. OCLC 60626541. hdl:10524/509.
- Bryan, Martin F.; Bryant, William R.; Sears, Roebuck and Company (1975). Oxford and Silvertone records, 1911–1918. St. Johnsbury, VT: New Amberola Phonograph Co. p. 30. OCLC 2593220.
- Aloha Oe. (Farewell To Thee). [English and Hawaiian]
- A Hawaiian flower (Metrosideros tremuloides)
- The Rock Beside the Sea. A Romanza.
- The Originals: Aloha Oe
- Sedi mara na kamen studencu
- "The Story of a Musical Life", pp. 254-255
- "Lilo and Stitch Aloha 'Oe". wn.com. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- "Lilo and Stitch Versions of Aloha Oe". History of Hawaii. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- Phares, Heather. "Lilo & Stitch 2: Island Favorites". All Music. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- Green, Scott. "Figure Sculptor Makes "Space Dandy" Aloha Oe and QT". Crunchy Roll. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- Green, Victoria. "'Space Dandy' Recap: A Merry Companion Is a Wagon in Space, Baby". The Celebrity Cafe. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- London, Jack. The Complete Short Stories of Jack London, Volume 1. Google Books. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "President Jiang Zemin of China". partners.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
- StevenChangHZ (2012-04-19), 江澤民演奏夏威夷吉他[Jiang Zemin Playing Hawaiian Guitar], retrieved 2016-03-29