Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kalukalukahinahena ?!? No way!

In my last post, I told you about the “Around the World in Eighty Days” theme our choir is enjoying at this summer’s rehearsals. WarriorTeacher3, who knows me better than most of you, reminded me in a comment, “Don’t forget about the Hawaiian theme night you missed when you were in Alabama...something about a kalukalukahinahena ?!?”

What? Kalukalukahinahena ?!?

No, no, WarriorTeacher3, I sang you a song about a little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii, where the humuhumunukunukuapua’a (pronounced HOO-moo-HOO-moo-NOO-koo-NOO-koo-AH-poo-AH-ah) go swimming by. Today I found the lyrics on the Internet, and here they are:

I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii,
I want to be with all the kanes and wahines that I used to know long ago;
I can hear the old guitars a-playing on the beach at Honaunau,
I can hear the old Hawaiians saying, “Komo mai no kaua i ka hale welakahao.”

It won’t be long till my ship will be sailing back to Kona,
A grand old place that’s always fair to see (yes, siree)
Well I’m just a little Hawaiian, a homesick island boy,
I want to go back to my fish and poi.
I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii,
Where the humuhumunukunukuapua’a go swimming by.
Where the humuhumunukunukuapua’a go swimming by.

According to my source, the song was written by Bill Cogswell, Tommy Harrison and Johnny Noble, and copyrighted in 1933. It was introduced in Kona, Hawaii, at the July 4th canoe races that year. Harrison gave the song to John Noble to publish, who revised the music to give it an almost new melody without changing Cogswell’s words. This was done to dispel the claim that others had written the song. Once published, the song became a smash hit. Noble turned over the royalties to the Sherman Clay Co. in San Francisco for $500.00 advance royalty, giving the credit to Cogswell and Harrison. Kealakekua is the bay where Captain Cook was killed in 1779. Honaunau is the ancient City of Refuge and Kona is the district where both are located on the Big Island.

And now you know, as Paul Harvey might say, the rest of the story, except that there’s more. The Disney people’s new High School Musical 2 contains a song about the humuhumunukunukuapua’a also, in which Ryan, Sharpay, and the girls sing this chorus:

Makihiki malahini-who
Hawana wakawakawakaniki pu pu pu.
wakawakawakaniki pu pu pu.
wakawakawakaniki pu...pu...pu!


If you can make sense out of that, may a large coconut that’s about to fall on your head be diverted by an expertly thrown pineapple. Oh, yes, one other thing. The scientific name of Hawaii’s official state fish, the humuhumnukunukuapua’a, is Rhinecanthus rectangulus according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It (the fish, not the encyclopedia) is also known as the Picasso triggerfish, and it looks like this:


  1. It sounds like speakin' in tongues if you ask me...thanks for the clarifications anyhow ;-)

    Love you! I'm glad I inspired a blog...

  2. I think I'll just leave my comment at "Aloha, RWP!"