In this video, Jeff Peterson plays Imi au ia oe for fingerstyle ukulele. Originally arranged by Keola Beamer for slack key guitar, Jeff adapts it here for fingerstyle ukulele using reentrant tuning. This famous waltz is usually attributed to Charles E.King, but King may have learned it originally from Queen Lili’uokalani. Queen Lili’uokalani wrote a song with the same title in 1874.
The lyrics of the song speak of a man searching for his lost love. He mentions searching in the “fragrant groves of Puna,” which is one of the districts of Hawai’i on the Big Island. Puna is a dangerous place to be because it’s located on the East Rift Zone of Mt. Kilahuea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. There is a beautiful remote scenic route called the “Red Road” (or Kapoho-Kalapana) that is lined with groves of coconut trees. Here are the full lyrics to King’s version of the song: