| He Aloha . . .
- He Aloha . . . is Pueo’s second solo project, a feast of love in its many forms. It includes seven originals composed by Pueo and another original by fellow kumu hula Pono Murray. One of Pueo's originals, Mili'opua, garnered him the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano award in the Haku Mele (composer) category. Six standards, arranged and performed with originality, compelling musical accompaniment, and lucious harmonies, complete this tribute to love.
- Guest musicians include Aaron Sala on piano and Jeff Au Hoy on Hawaiian steel, contributing a feel so classic and traditional it again seems contemporary. Other guest artists include Pueo with Kaiolohia Funes Smith and Leimana Abenes of the popular trio Ko`iawe (formerly known as KaPuLe), Liz Morales, Kala`i Ontai, Mark Palakiko, Willie Wainwright, Keoni Kuoha, Maunakea Mossman, Sissy Rogers, and a bevy of “titas.” All guest artists were chosen with great care and consideration for their friendships to Pueo, respective talents and style; the result is complimentary and very rich.
- Whether a classic Hawaiian song from a century (or more) ago or his newest composition, Pueo treats the mele of He Aloha . . . with an exquisite attention to musical traditions while adeptly expressing himself with a dramatically detailed, fresh and heartfelt style. The result brings his music full-circle so that what was once considered traditional has again become contemporary.
- Randy Jay Braun of Makawao, Maui, carried Pueo’s music and message forward with the perfect photographic complement. (Randy’s photoshoots are full of fun and friendship as well.) The photographs, music, and Pueo’s notes were then turned over to Scott Johnson of Dogtowne Design, Wailea, Maui. What resulted was synergistic: a perfect expression of aloha, with the music and graphics interweaving and supporting multiple layers of meaning. To open the CD is to go on a journey full of significance and grandeur. Pueo shares some of the meanings below.
The cover: Those familiar with Maui’s `Iao Valley may recognize Nanahoa (aka Kuka`emoku, Kukaemoku & `Iao Needle). My face is imposed over the cliffs of Mauna Kane to the right of Nanahoa. Nanahoa is believed to be the phallus of Kanaloa, god of fresh water below ground, while his constant companion, Kane, has domain over fresh water above ground. Their dual presence in this valley is believed to make the waters therein extra sacred, and presenting them on the cover evokes blessings on what is within.
Initial opening: To begin to unfold the jacket is a metaphor for seeking more knowledge of the project within. One sees me seemingly embarking on a journey . . . and I invite the reader to follow.
Fully opened: On the top panel, one will notice colored waves that appear on every page as a current running through the album. The middle panel has the dictionary definition of “aloha,” made to blend in with the black and white environment as an emphasis that “aloha” is part of the environment, not a separate entity. The bottom panel has the vividly colored CD. To me, the colors represent fertility - blue for water and green for verdant growth. The water ties this album back to the founding concepts of my first album, E Ho`i Na Wai, as well as does the laua`e fern. Laua`e is also symbolic of fertility, as another meaning of “lau” is “to be many” and “a`e” can mean “approaching.” When one removes the CD from its panel, they will find a large rock signifying the solid foundation of my music in traditional forms and functions.
The booklet: By reaching into the depths of the waters, one can pull forth the CD’s booklet. The hinano blossom on the cover represents hopes of arousing the reader’s interest in delving deeper into the songs on the CD. The first panel has some of my personal introductory mana`o on aloha as learned from my kumu and kupuna. From then on, one can find the vivid colors and textures of the mele portrayed in the vivid colors and textures of the photos and design. A common current runs through and across every page. All of the pictures have a significance to aloha and/or to the mele whose words and mana`o are expressed on that particular page or panel. For example, ko (sugarcane) appears with the songs “`Awapuhi Puakea” and “Laga-Haga.” Although not mentioned in either mele, ko is used in love sorcery to get the love prayed for to “ko” or “come to pass.” The ko in connection with “`Awapuhi Puakea,” a song for my late kumu hula Nona Mahilani Kaluhiokalani, represents my hopes that her desires that I succeed her have “come to pass.” “Laga-Haga” is a mele that speaks of the efforts two sweethearts employ in “getting together;” hopefully, the ko will facilitate this desire. In other kaona (hidden meaning), a lei haku of laua`e is featured for “Mili`opua” and “Pua `Ahihi,” mele about loving and lasting relationships. The “haku” method of lei-making is the braiding together of two or more different materials . . . just like the people in a relationship. Although outside people will notice only the beautiful front of the lei, that beauty depends on how skillfully the backing has been made . . . again a metaphor for relationships. Also, this picture in the booklet and on the back of the jacket is a tribute to my late kumu for lei-making, master Diane Amadeo.
“He Aloha . . . ” the songs:
(Note: Please excuse the absence of the proper diacritical marks due to web design consideration.)
- Momi o ka Pakipika
(Charles E. King)
This familiar favorite rambunctiously extols the wonder of Hawai’i, “the pearl of the Pacific.” This version is a tribute to Pueo’s hula master, G. Lanakilakeikiahiali`i Naope.
- Ku`u Home
(C. Pueo Pata)
“This is an aloha for my cherished land, for my beloved home, Maui is indeed the best.” The majesty of Maui is perfectly conveyed by the grandeur of Aaron Sala’s piano and Pueo’s heartfelt vocal.
- Punua Polena
(C. Pueo Pata)
This mele aloha ipo (song for a lover) has intricate meaning and the compelling pathos of loss and desire. First recorded on the soundtrack of the film Ho`okipa, it was a 2005 finalist in the Na Hoku Hanohano haku mele category. Kala`i Ontai and Kaiolohia Funes Smith trade verses on lead guitar in this revised version of the song.
- Ku`u Lei Pua Hoku
(C. Pueo Pata; music by C. Pueo Pata, Leimana Abenes, and Kaiolohia Funes Smith)
This mele features the beautifully blended voices of Ko`iawe (formerly KaPuLe): Leimana Abenes, Kaiolohia Funes Smith, and Cody Pueo Pata. The wafting of the pua hoku hihi blossom’s fragrance is a metaphor for the fond thoughts one has of a loved one far away.
- Lei Nani
(Charles E. King)
A classic expression of love, Pueo’s dancers are unforgettable performing this mele as they twirl and embrace their lei as tenderly as lovers.
- `Awapuhi Puakea
(C. Pueo Pata)
Pueo remembers fondly his late kumu hula, Nona Mahilani Kaluhiokalani, in this luscious mele for the white ginger blossom. Willy Wainwright’s violin tugs at the heartstrings in this song of remembrance.
(C. Pueo Pata)
This mele kake revives an old tradition of creating nonsense lyrics that only the intended can decipher. It has been a frequent request at live performances, and now, with Maunakea Mossman, Sissy Rogers and a bevy of “titas,” he delights and intrigues the rest of his listeners. Because of their secret nature, the lyrics are not shared. I love sushi, too!
(C. Pueo Pata)
This mele ho`oipoipo (song of love-making) extols the features around Kalihi-uka, O`ahu. The music is sensuous and exhilirating, beautifully supported by Jeff Au Hoy’s Hawaiian steel. One can guess at the meaning without understanding the words. Winner of 2007 Na Hokuhanohano award for Haku Mele (composer).
- Pua `Ahihi
(Mary Kawena Pukui)
A timeless classic, Pueo makes it his own by holding a note in each verse so that his dancers can make a full circle with emphasis and grace. Pueo also includes this song as his tribute to the great Kahauanu Lake.
- E Lili`u E
A name song for Hawai`i’s last reigning monarch, Queen Lili`uokalani, it expresses the love of a nation for their queen. Pueo’s up-tempo version may be frowned on by some, but it’s perfect for pu`ili (split bamboo) percussion.
- Aloha Ka Manini
The nahenahe feel of Pueo’s version of this song not only suggests the way one savors these delectable fishes but also the feel of floating above the reef and seeing their beautiful colors and movement.
- He Aloha no ka `Ukiu
(C. Pueo Pata)
Pueo again expresses his love for his home, Maui, as well as attraction to another, by describing the affair in terms of the wind and rain of the Upcountry. This song was first recorded for the soundtrack of the film Ho`okipa and, together with Punua Polena, was a finalist in the 2005 Na Hoku Hanohano award for haku mele (composer).
- Ka Lehua a`o Waimea
(D. Pono Murray)
This is song was composed by Pueo’s close friend, Pono Murray, for his wife, Leimomi. Pono lends his voice as co-lead in the verse expressing his love, and Willy Wainwright adds violin and an almost country feel to this beautiful mele aloha.
- Laua`e ka Mana`o
Pueo closes the CD with a rousing mele ma`i (genital song) to ensure fertility and prosperity for the Hawaiian nation as well as the offerings in He Aloha . . .