Pomaika`i Keawe – granddaughter of Aunty Genoa Keawe and an amazing artist in her own right – takes her ha’i into the stratosphere on an episode of HiSessions…
“I Ali`i No `Oe” was a staple of the repertoire of Aunty Genoa Keawe – a song she debuted on her 1965 Hula Records release Luau Hulas and which remained one of her most requested songs throughout her career for it showed off her delicious ha`i (or distinctive Hawaiian-style break in the voice when moving from the lowest to highest register – what might be called “yodeling” in other idioms). The song is literally translated as “You’re The Chief” and uses Hawaiian-style tongue-in-cheek poetic technique known as kaona to discuss a housewife’s subserviance to her husband.
Aunty Genoa’s granddaughter Pomaika`i Keawe Lyman reluctantly embarked on her music career which was propelled forward at an exponentially faster pace when her grandmother passed away on February 25, 2008 and Pomaika`i assumed her role every Thursday evening at Waikiki Beach Marriott where Aunty Genoa held court for nearly 20 years. The aggregation on those evenings is largely a familiar affair including Pomaika`i’s uncle Gary Aiko on bass and vocals, her octagenarian cousin Momi B. Kahawaiola`a on rhythm guitar and vocals, and calabash uncle Alan Akaka on steel guitar, vocals, and master-of-ceremony duties. But in this video session for HiSessions, Pomaika`i changes up the line-up a little – with another cousin, Jeremy Kama Hopkins (Auntie Momi’s grandson) on bass and vocals, Alan Akaka maintaining the steel guitar chores, and Alan’s nephew, Halehaku Seabury-Akaka (of the multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning group Na Hoa) on rhythm guitar.
This is Hawaiian music at its finest – simply put, pure joy. If you have never heard the Hawaiian female ha`i style before, this is an excellent introduction to the art form