Battle songs accompany UH Warriors into grid war
STORY SUMMARY »
When Ryan Parker saw wildly enthusiastic Warrior fans on television during the Bowl Championship Series selection special, he had to write a song to capture those emotions.
Parker, who lives in Kentucky, is an old hand at this.
For years he has put his sports-related topical songs on his Web site, but he has since garnered a whole new group of fans from the islands for his tune "Hawaii's Warriors."
But it is only one of at least three songs dedicated to the UH football team: Frank De Lima has written and recorded a tribute, and Willie K, Vili the Warrior and Robert Kekaula are about to release another song.
FULL STORY »
A Flatwoods, Ky., man was so inspired by the undefeated University of Hawaii Warriors that he wrote a celebratory song about the Sugar Bowl-bound football team.
Ryan Parker first posted "Hawaii's Warriors" on his Web site on Dec. 3, and it is an Internet hit with the team's avid fans.
A software engineer, Parker is part of the long tradition of American troubadours who write topical songs not for fame or fortune, but because they are so moved and want to make their feelings known. Only now, instead of cutting their songs on 7-inch vinyl records, they are making them available for download on their Web sites.
The song is a short but earnest tune, with Parker accompanying himself on guitar, complete with rousing choruses and a pointed remark about the Western Athletic Conference's growing national stature, referring to the Fiesta Bowl win by Boise State over powerhouse Oklahoma.
De Lima, Willie also cut tunes
Not to be outdone by mainland songwriter Ryan Parker, a few isle entertainers have produced their own Warrior tributes.
Frank De Lima has released "Hawai'i, We Did It," while Willie K, Vili the Warrior and Robert Kekaula have teamed up to honor the Warriors football team with their own song.
"Warriors Cry," written by Willie K and featuring performances by Vili and Kekaula, will be released and marketed by OneHawaii.
Fans will be able to download the song from iTunes beginning Tuesday. A single of the song also will be released the following week to stores throughout Hawaii.
"We wrote it as a tribute to the boys for their undefeated season," said Willie K. "It's inspired by the team's ha'a."
The only live performance of "Warriors Cry" will take place during the "A Christmas Gift: Na Leo's Holiday Music Spectacular" concerts on Dec. 19 and 20 at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Concert tickets are available at www.naleo.net or by calling 262-6300.
Frank De Lima's song "Hawai'i, We Did It" is getting local airplay on radio stations and can be downloaded for free on De Lima's Web site, frankdelima.com.
WHILE PARKER wrote via e-mail that he saw the Warriors' last two exciting regular season games on ESPN, "I was ultimately inspired to write the song while watching the (Bowl Championship Series) selection show on Sunday. (It) showed the people of Hawaii gathered to celebrate the season and the BCS appearance.
"Seeing how excited everyone was about the team and the show of support on display literally moved me to tears. It was then that the words of the song just came to me. I love it when that happens. ...
"I was really happy with the way it came out even before I recorded it. I was truly proud to be able to write about the Hawaii Warriors," he said.
Parker has been playing guitar, writing songs and singing for about 20 years. "Music sort of runs in my family, as my grandfather played bluegrass music with Bill Monroe. ... My main goal with music is for the songs I write to be able to touch people in some way."
Ever since island folk have heard "Hawaii's Warriors," Parker feels visiting here "is even more of a dream vacation spot now that I have had the honor of corresponding with so many kind people from Hawaii!"
While Hawaii is a pretty far destination for him, going to New Orleans for the big game would be an easier trek.
"It is tough for me to get away a lot, having two young children, but I would absolutely love to be there to help cheer Hawaii on to a Sugar Bowl victory. I am sure the atmosphere will be electric. If I manage to do it, I will definitely try to find the hotel of the Hawaii fans so I can play the song prior to game time and get everyone even more fired up than I am sure they already will be."