Aloha 'oe

"Aloha ʻOe" ("Farewell to Thee") is a Hawaiian folk song written c. 1878 by Queen Liliʻuokalani, who was then known as Princess of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Aloha 'oe


Aloha 'oe (WORD)
Aloha 'oe (PDF)

YOU CAN PLAY ALONG WITH ALDRINE GUERRO'S UKULELE UNDERGROUND RECORDING! I've even tabbed out the chord melody intro. Thanks to Sarah Qualman for bringing this song to BUG!

"Aloha ʻOe" is Queen Lili'uokalani's most famous song and is a common cultural symbol for Hawaii. They all have in common that the song was inspired by a notable farewell embrace given by Colonel James Harbottle Boyd during a horseback trip taken by Princess Liliʻuokalani in 1877 or 1878 to the Boyd ranch in Maunawili on the windward side of Oʻahu, and that the members of the party hummed the tune on the way back to Honolulu. According to the most familiar version of the story:

This tender farewell set Liliʻuokalani to thinking, and she began humming to herself on the homeward trip. Overhearing, Charles Wilson observed, "That sounds like The Lone Rock by the Sea," a comment with which Liliʻuokalani is said to have agreed. When the party paused to rest in an orange grove on the Honolulu side of the Pali, the others joined in the hummings, and the song was completed later at Washington Place.

The Hawaiʻi State Archives preserves a hand-written manuscript by Liliʻuokalani, dated 1878, with the score of the song, the lyrics, Liliʻuokalani's English translation, and her note evidently added later: "Composed at Maunawili 1878. Played by the Royal Hawaiian Band in San Francisco August 1883 and became very popular." (Wikipedia)

Lili’uokalani’s Story (from American Songwriter)

Ascending to the thrown on Jan. 29, 1891—nine days following the death of her brother the King—the Hawaiian monarch was soon overthrown after Liliʻuokalani drafted a new constitution strengthening the power of the monarch, enforcing expanding voting rights, which was seen as a threat to American interests, namely in the sugar trade. John Leavitt Stevens, the U.S. minister to the Hawaiian Kingdom sent 300 Marines to Hawaii in 1893, and Liliʻuokalani was forced to abdicate the throne in 1895 for her alleged coup of Hawaii. She was placed under house arrest, first in a single room on the second floor of Iolani Palace before being transferred to the Greek Revival palace, Washington Place, in Honolulu, where she would live out the rest of her life.

Liliʻuokalani was pardoned on Oct. 23, 1898, and continued to write, living in Hawaii as a private citizen. In 1898, the U.S. annexed the islands of Hawaii. That same year, Lili’uokalani published her autobiography Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, which was published in 1898 and written after her attempt to appeal on behalf of her people to President Grover Cleveland, a personal friend, for her reinstatement as Queen.

A multi-instrumentalist, Lili’uokalani played ukulele, piano, organ, zither, and guitar, and could sing in Hawaiian and English. She wrote: “To compose was as natural to me as to breathe, and this gift of nature, never having been suffered to fall into disuse, remains a source of the greatest consolation to this day,” said Lili’uokalani in her autobiography. “Hours of which it is not yet in place to speak, which I might have found long and lonely, passed quickly and cheerfully by, occupied and soothed by the expression of my thoughts in music.”

On Nov. 11, 1917, Liliʻuokalani died at the age of 79.

Share Tweet Send