I meant to post this video of Laulani Teale singing "Mele O Kaho‘olawe" last week as part of the 22nd anniversary of the islandʻs return from the military, and thatʻs certainly why Laulani sang it at the April 29, Food Not Bombs jam session at (De)Occupy Honolulu. But the police decided to stage a raid the next morning to seize the artwork that was being created at the very time Laulani was singing, and that really messed up my schedule.
To make matters worse, on May 1, when Laulani approached Mayor Carlisle at the Cityʻs annual Lei Day ceremony, a group of policemen arrested her and injured her hands in the process. Laulani and her mom have participated in this event as lei makers for years. I donʻt know if the cops knew she was a lei maker and musician who depends on her hands, but they seem to have gone out of their way to cause injury. Iʻm glad to have caught this performance for posterity.
H. Doug Matsuoka
Before she started singing, she told us,
"This is a song in Hawaiian by this kupuna named Harry Kunihi Mitchell whose son died out in the waves off Kahoolawe when they were fighting to protect the island from the US military. It was being used for target practice for almost half a century after World War II when Hawaiians finally decided to take it back. So they started landing on the island, but in the course of that protest two really important guys were lost -- mysteriously -- at sea. Instead of being bitter, the father of one of them wrote this song.
"It's a celebration for all people who fight for what's right."[update 5/10/2012: The translation in this version is problematical in certain ways and I am working bringing in a revised version. Keep that in mind and see Laulani's comments below. Doug]
H. Doug Matsuoka
9 May 2012