On Wiki Wiki Wednesday, a musical tribute to the music and songs of Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands, we celebrate the birth of Queen Lili’uokalani. She was born September 2nd, 1838 and reigned as Queen in her own right, in the Kingdom of Hawai’i, in the middle of the sea. Lili’uokalani ascended to the throne January 29th, 1891, after the death of her brother, King David Kalakaua, known as the Merrie Monarch, for his revival of the hula, surfing and other Hawaiian arts. The royal brothers and sisters were known as the “Royal Fours” for their musical talents. Queen Lili’uokalani was an accomplished author, composer and musician.
She authored “Hawai’i’s Story By Hawai’i’s Queen”
After the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, The Queen was imprisoned in her own ‘Iolani Palace. While under house arrest, she took solace in composing and transcribing music, including the Hawaiian creation epic, the Kumulipo. She believed in peaceful resistance and wanted to avoid bloodshed. These events still ring through the islands today. Following the Queen’s release, the Hawaiian Republic gave her a full pardon and restored her civil rights. She lived at her palatial residence in Honolulu until her death in 1917.
She composed “Aloha ‘Oe,” or “Farewell to Thee,” a popular lover’s goodbye, which later became imbued with mourning for the loss of her country. The huge events of the political realm reverberate today throughout the Hawaiian islands and within the Hawaiian nation in diaspora. We keep the Queen and Hawaiian Kingdom in heart, in part through the music.