Irmgard Farden Aluli

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"Auntie" Irmgard Keali'iwahinealohanohokahaopuamana Farden Aluli (1911 - October 4, 2001) was a Hawaiian composer who wrote over 200 songs. In Hawaii, she was considered a haku mele, or maker of songs.[1] Aluli is considered the most prolific woman composer of Hawaii since Queen Lili'uokalani.[2] She is the fourth person to be honored twice for a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA).[3] She has also been inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.


Aluli was born in Lahaina, Maui in 1911.[4] She was born into a large (sources differ in whether there were between 10 and 13 children) musical family.[2] Her parents are Annie Kahalepouli Shaw Farden and Charles Kekua Farden and she is of Hawaiian, German and Hungarian ancestry.[4][5]

Aluli first started performing publicly with the Annie Kerr Trio in 1926.[1] She had an alto voice and could play piano, ukulele, bass and guitar.[2] Aluli wrote her first song in 1935, called "Down on Maunakea Street."[2]

In 1937, she had her first hit, "Puamana," which was a song she wrote about her childhood home in Lahaina.[2] "Puamana" has become a standard for hula dancers and Hawaiian musicians.[6]

In the 1960s, she started a group called Puamana.[1] The group started out as a quartet which included her daughters and her niece.[3] A short film was created by Les Blank, Meleanna Meyer and Chris Simon about Puamana in 1991.[7] The film features the group and also includes interviews with Aluli.[8]

Aluli performed publicly often, until she hurt her hand in 1998.[1] In 1998, she was honored with her induction into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.[2] She continued to play ukulele and made "occasional appearances until a few weeks before her death."[1] Aluli died on October 4 in Honolulu.[1]

In 2015, Puamana, which has continued under the leadership of her daughters and granddaughter earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from HARA.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Downes, Lawrence (13 October 2001). "Irmgard Aluli, 89, Hawaiian Singer Known as Auntie Irmgard". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Irmgard Farden Aluli". Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 1 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Berger, John (1 May 2015). "11 Music Greats Being Given Top Honors". Honolulu Star. Retrieved 13 January 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ a b Allen, Robert C. (2004). Creating Hawai'i Tourism: A Memoir. Bess Press. ISBN 9781573062060. 
  5. ^ Clark, John R. K. (1989). The Beaches of Maui County. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824812461. 
  6. ^ Hune, Shirley; Nomura, Gail (2003). Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: A Historical Anthology (PDF). New York: NYU Press. p. 212. ISBN 9780814790977 – via Project Muse. (Subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ "Paumana (1991)". Les Blank. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Toth, Catherine E. (27 September 2013). "Hawaii International Film Festival turns 33, expands screenings to Kauai and Big Island". Hawai'i Magazine. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 

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