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
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!