In this video, Jeff Peterson plays his arrangement of the farewell song Aloha ‘Oe for fingerstyle ukulele, first written by Queen Lili’uokalani around 1878. Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawai’i’s last monarch, wrote at least 150 songs, but Aloha ‘Oe is by far her most popular.

Aloha ‘Oe’s Origin Story

There are several intertwining stories that accompany the origin of this beautiful tune, but there are a few details that are known for certain. In 1877 the queen traveled to visit Oahu as one of her first acts as monarch. She spent time at the Maunawili Ranch in the Koolau Mountains of the Kalakaua (Royal) family. Colonel James Aalapuna Harbottle Boyd was there serving the family as a military official. After her visit with the Kalakaua family, Queen Lili began to depart for Honolulu. As her party was preparing to leave, a young Hawaiian girl gave Col. Boyd a lei and said aloha. One account claims this young girl was Queen Lili’s sister, Likelike. As the party turned and rode their horses away from the ranch, Queen Lili began to hum the tune that would become Aloha ‘Oe. She finished writing the lyrics in 1878 when she was 40.

Aloha ‘Oe Lyrics

Haʻaheo ka ua i nā pali                       Proudly swept the rain by the cliffs
Ke nihi aʻela i ka nahele                      As it glided through the trees
E hahai (uhai) ana paha i ka liko        Still following ever the bud
Pua ʻāhihi lehua o uka                       The ʻahihi lehua of the vale

Hui (Chorus):
Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe                           Farewell to you, farewell to you
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo                The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers
One fond embrace,                           One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au                                     ‘Ere I depart
Until we meet again                          Until we meet again

ʻO ka haliʻa aloha i hiki mai               Sweet memories come back to me
Ke hone aʻe nei i kuʻu manawa         Bringing fresh remembrances of the past
ʻO ʻoe nō kaʻu ipo aloha                   Dearest one, yes, you are mine own
A loko e hana nei                             From you, true love shall never depart

Maopopo kuʻu ʻike i ka nani             I have seen and watched your loveliness
Nā pua rose o Maunawili                 The sweet rose of Maunawili
I laila hiaʻai nā manu                       And ’tis there the birds of love dwell
Mikiʻala i ka nani o ka lipo              And sip the honey from your lip

Aloha ‘Oe for Fingerstyle Ukulele

Jeff Peterson’s arrangement of Aloha ‘Oe is a beautiful chord arrangement with improvisatory elements and a nice singing melody throughout.


This is just one of many arrangements of great Hawaiian songs available at Ukulele Corner Academy. In fact, we have a whole library of Hawaiian songs expertly arranged by Jeff! If you’d like access to the whole Hawaiian Library and much, much more, Join Ukulele Corner Academy today!