Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

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Here we are, another ‘Ukulele Wednesday. Today happens to be Mary Fran’s birthday, so I have two songs for today. Listen to them here. The first is Las Mañanitas. This is a birthday song that is popular in Mexico and Central America. Here are the lyrics:

Estas son las mañanitas

Que cantaba el rey David

Hoy por ser tu cumpleaños

Te las cantamos a ti

Despierta mi bien despierta

Mira que ya amanecio

Ya los pajarillos cantan

La luna ya se metio

The second song is He Wahine U‘i

The song was written by Johnny Almeida, one of the greatest Hawaiian composers and performers. During Almeida’s career spanning more than 70 years, he composed over 300 songs, many of which are classics in the Hawaiian genre. His mother gave birth to him while gathering maile vines to make leis. She was not able to clean her hands of the toxic maile sap before birthing him. The sap affected his eyesight and he was totally blind from the age of ten. Almeida was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Almeida loved flowers and women. In He Wahina U‘i, he simply says over and over, here are some beautiful flowers for you, beautiful lady. He names the lokelani (rose), the mokihana (the official flower of Kaua‘i), the kukui or candlenut flower, and the ilima. He promises to make leis of each of them for the beautiful lady.

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