Manono Chant (Traditional, Arrangement by Kapono Beamer)With the voice of Louise Leiomalama Walker Beamer (Kapono’s Grandmother)
My grandmother had the sweetest voice in the whole wide world, and we all loved her dearly. Many years ago I had a chance to record her vocal as part of a chant book project I did to help my mother (Nona Beamer, Na Mele Hula, Volume 2). I have added some Hawaiian nose flute(ohe hano ihu) and Ipu (Hawaiian gourd percussion).
Princess Manono is one of our family’s ancestors. This chant tells the story of Manono at the battle of Kuamo’o in 1819. Manono’s husband, Kekuaokalani, played a significant role as caretaker of the ancient Hawaiian gods. Chief Kekuaokalani fought hard and made a valiant stand to defend the ancient Hawaiian way of religion. Against him were his cousin, Liholiho (Kamehameha II), and the forces of those who favored breaking the sacred laws that had governed the Hawaiian people for hundreds of years. Liholiho favored the lifting of the kapu (sacred prohibitions) and went about burning the temples and destroying the ancient god images to make way for a new religion. Armed with muskets and cannons he inherited from his father, Liholiho eventually defeated the forces of Kekuaokalani, who were armed only with spears. Manono saw her husband fall in the battle. She covered his body with his feather cloak, picked up his spear, and joined the fight. The conservative forces rallied, but eventually Manono was overcome.
Ka Lele O Pueo (Kapono Beamer)The flight of Pueo, the Hawaiian Owl
I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at the Beamer family ranch in Kamuela, on the Big Island. It was a wonderful childhood with horses and cattle, and many cousins to play with. On Saturday mornings we would have to wake up very early to get ready to go to Hilo, where my grandma gave weekly hula lessons. One morning I was up and ready early, so I took a little walk outside. It was still dark. I gazed out to see open pastures and the silhouette of Mauna Kea in the dark light before dawn. It was cold. It was very very quiet. It was beautiful. I barely heard a rustling sound and suddenly a Hawaiian owl, Pueo, appeared out of nowhere and perched on the fence post just a few yards from where I was standing. He had big brown wings and big bold eyes. He turned his head from side to side then stopped moving completely and just stared at me for several minutes. I watched in silence. Then he set flight and soared across the early morning sky, swooping up and down as he sailed above the pastures. I stood there watching until I heard my grandfather calling out for me to get in the car.
Ka Lele O Pueo (The flight of Pueo)
I ‘imi ‘ike kaiao (To seek again & again the knowledge; to enlighten)
Hele ho’okahi ho’apono (One goes alone, and in acceptance)
E Manono (Traditional, Arrangement by Kapono Beamer) After the recording session at my home studio, grandma sat at the dining table gazing up at the ceiling. Above the table was a mirrored ceiling... A series of unusual and complex angled mirrors. “Dambie Girl” (as we called my grandma) pointed up into the mirrors and said to me, “Kapono, sometime I want to see the room upstairs”. We all laughed, and I said, “Dambie, we don’t have a room upstairs... You’re just lost in the mirror”.
Now as time has passed, so many things have changed. Grandma passed on at the age of 94... There was an upstairs addition put on the house with a room added above the dining room. In the room I placed the heirloom Koa sofa my Mom had sent to me. It had belonged to Helen Desha Beamer (my great grandmother) who had it in the music room at her home, “Halehuki”, in Hilo. It was passed on to her son,my grandfather, Francis Keali’inohopono Beamer, who had it in the ranch house at Kamuela all the years of my childhood. My grandma used to sit on it every night. Every Beamer in the family sat on that sofa at one time or another. Now I realize that from where my grandma had been sitting and looking up into the mirror after our Manono recording session all those years ago, she was pointing exactly to the koa sofa that once was her own.
Ua Ki O Wao (Kapono Beamer) The Rain of Nu’uanu Valley1. Hupua kaua ma Nu’uanu
(Two of us were drawn together at Nu’uanu)
I Ho’opili ai ka na’au Puiwa a kaua
(Where our hearts were brought together in astonishment at Puiwa)
Ua lele wai i ka ua
(We were purified by the rain)
Ua loa... Uakoko
(A long period of rain,so heavy the river runs red with wash from the hills)
Ua Ki O Wao
(The famous rain in the middle of Nu’uanu Valley)
2. ‘Ike na manu hulu i ka mea pono
(The feathered [prosperous] birds see the righteous)
‘O ko makou alaka’i
(They are our guides)
E ho’onu’a e ho’olale mai ai
(Giving gladly their encouragement, like the swells in the sea)
3. Moe kaua ma ka ni’o i ka noe kolo
(The two of us rest at the misty summit)
‘Ike ‘ia ko kaua aloha pili mau
(Known is our bond together in love)
E hihi’o ana i ka pua kilipohe
(Causing the dreaming of the flower moist with rain)
Ano Ano (Kapono Beamer )Awestruck, lost in thought At the Hawaii Volcanos National Park on the Big Island, there is an area behind Kilauea Iki Crater, known as “Devastation Trail”. This area was created by the 1959 eruption of Kilauea Iki, when molten lava and exploding cinder basalt were hurled up into the air at heights of up to 1,900 feet. The cinder rained down in the back of Kilauea Iki, burning and obliterating everything nearby and creating the “Devastation Trail” as we know it today.
I was recently hiking there in the area, and when the trail ended I came to a wonderful lookout with a panoramic view of Kilauea Iki... I got to the rim and stood looking back across the vast expanse of the crater. There was a brisk fresh wind coming up from the side of the crater wall, yet it was calm and eerily quiet.
Suddenly I remembered a dark and mysterious night long ago. I saw myself sitting in the back seat of my mother’s car, staring out to a fiery curtain of exploding lava at Kilauea Iki. It was 1959, it was late at night, and my Mom had driven us to see the eruption. I was a young boy of 7 years old who was mesmorized as he looked out to see the magical fiery lava erupting high up into the glowing night sky...
Now I am a grown man, standing in the very spot the young boy is looking at . Now I am looking back at the car where the little boy is sitting. I am the grown man looking at the little boy... Then I am the little boy looking back at the grown man... My thoughts spiral as over and over again my mind bounces from the past to the present, to the past, to the present... I’m wishing I could talk to the little boy, but what would I say? If I could send a message to the grown up man, what would it be?
Kalamaikalani (Kapono Beamer) Forgiveness and MercyAt my grandfather’s ranch in Kamuela, there were many interesting items hanging on the walls... Photos of family members at various ages, an antique collection of rifles and pistols, the head of the bull that gored my favorite horse, “Bluedust”, and my grandfather’s clock. Papa would wind that clock every day, and it never stopped ticking. Nights were so quiet; no sounds of traffic, no sirens, no sounds of the city at all... Just the cool Kamuela wind, “Kipu’upu’u”, gusting over the pastures. The ticking of my grandfather’s clock, chiming every hour and once on the half hour, was the one sound that was constant and always present.
Half a life time has gone by since those small kid days in Kamuela.
Now as I look back on the past in the light of the present, I am grateful. I reflect on the things that have touched my life. There are many lessons learned, and many lessons still ahead. I give thanks for the richness of God’s blessings and mercy. I hope my music will touch others in a way that may uplift and comfort, gladden and inspire.
I gaze out to the blue Pacific. The ocean, like our lives, is so unfathomable. There is much more going on than our own little pond of awareness can percieve.
I am snuggled back up in my kihepili. I feel the ticking of my grandfather’s clock. I hear the sweet sound of my grandmother’s voice coming from the kitchen.