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Kanaka Wai Wai

Hawaiian
"This song refers to the Biblical verse where Jesus says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of heaven. The background of this piece is quite mysterious. Apparently, it originates from the tiny island of Ni`ihau, where only native Hawaiians may travel. George's Aunty Sarah Pule recalls singing it in Kohala many years ago, but with different words from the current version. She believes that the song has been around since the 1800's. The grandfather of renowned Hawaiian entertainer Moe Keale may be the original composer. One version of this hymn was written by John Almeida for the Mormon Church in 1915. He changed it for the church because it was felt to be too much like a hula song. In the early seventies, the group Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai`i, with Moe Keale singing the vocals, popularized this song."

Ma ke alahele `o Ies
On the road, Jesus
 
 I hlwai aku ai
Met
 
Me ke kanaka `pio hanohano
With the dignified young man
 
Kaulana i ka waiwai
Famous for (his) wealth
 
Pane mai e ka `pio:
The youth asked:
 
"E ku`u Haku maika`i
"My good Lord
 
He aha ho`i ka`u e hana aku ai
What must I do
 
I loa'a e ke ola mau?"
To be given eternal life?"

 

 

Hui: Chorus

"`E h`awi, e h`awi lilo
"Give, give away (all) entirely

I kou mau waiwai
Your riches

Huli a hahai mai ia`u
Turn and follow me

I loa`a e ke ola mau i `oe"
To obtain eternal life for you

Minamina e ka `pio
The youth was sorrowful
I kona mau waiwai
Of (losing) his wealth
I ke ku`ai a h`awi lilo aku
Of selling and giving it all away
I ka po`e nele a hune
To the needy and poor people
Huli a`e `o Ies l
Turning then, Jesus
Pane aku i ka `pio:
Replied to the youth:
"`A`ole a`e hiki ke kanaka waiwai
Unable to rise, the young rich man,
I ke Aupuni o ka Lani"
To the Kingdom of Heaven

 

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