COURTESY PHOTO BY AARON MERSBERG|
Ekela Kaniaupio-Crozier broadcasts Hawaiian music and language lessons via the Internet from the studios of Hawaiian 105 KINE.
Web site teaches
Hawaiian in song
joins a radio station to
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Hawaiian songs have won a cherished place in the hearts of music lovers around the world, but not necessarily in their minds.
Even people who sing along with their favorites don't always understand the words coming out of their mouths. In hopes of remedying that, Kamehameha Schools is teaming up with Hawaiian 105 KINE Radio to offer free lessons via Internet radio that explore the Hawaiian language, one song at a time.
"We especially want to reach out to the mainland community," said Henry Meyer, director of the Distance Learning Department at Kamehameha Schools. "Forty percent of the people with Hawaiian blood in this world live on the mainland."
The series of eight, 45-minute shows, called "Nahanahe: Sweet Melodies of Hawaii," will broadcast live via the radio station's Web site every other week through September. Hawaiian language teacher Ekela Kaniaupio-Crozier hosts the program with musical guests, explaining and discussing the languages and nuances of each song, and showing how it is properly sung and played.
The lyrics for each song, in Hawaiian and English, are available for download, along with ukulele and guitar chords to accompany it. Because the series highlights one mele from each island, maps are also provided, identifying the places featured in each song.
"Some of us have listened to this music all our lives, hearing a song over and over, but never really understanding it," said Mona Malasig, director of site services for Cox Radio Hawaii, parent of KINE. "With this program, all of a sudden, you get to understand the words to the song, literally and emotionally."
The first show, introducing the series, aired Wednesday and is archived at the radio station's Web site, www.hawaiian105.com. The next will be broadcast June 18. The inaugural show, featuring guest artists Robert Cazimero, Pekelo and Kimo Baker, featured the song "Waikapu" by James Kahele.
Louise Ing, an attorney with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, tuned in to the broadcast over her lunch hour on Wednesday and enjoyed listening to the hosts delve into the meaning of the song.
"It's nice because I can sit at my computer and listen, and try to do work at the same time," she said. "Ekela and Robert together are really intriguing and funny. There were a couple of times I had to burst out laughing."
The show is designed to use music to reach people who might not otherwise sign up for Hawaiian-language lessons.
"They're not going to be fluent after they listen to these programs," Kaniaupio-Crozier said, "but they'll have a better understanding of the pronunciation, the words, how we use one word to mean so many different things."
The lessons will be broadcast at www.hawaiian105.com at noon on June 18, July 9, July 23, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 12 and Sept. 26. Completed shows will be archived at the site; just click on "nahenahe."
Listeners may call in during the live shows and e-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Course materials are available before each lesson as a PDF file online.
Kaniaupio-Crozier, who teaches at the University of Hawaii and Leeward Community College, developed the popular Kulaiwe series, a video-based introduction to Hawaiian language. Those lessons were reissued recently in VHS and are available streaming online through Kamehameha Schools' Web site, www.ksbe.edu.
"Nahenahe" means soft, sweet, and melodious, but Kaniaupio-Crozier said her latest venture offers more than its name might suggest.
"Everybody thinks our music is sweet and loving," she said, "but the reality in that beautiful music is a strong message of passion, aloha and sometimes defiance. Now we can share that with the world."