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  1. #1

    Hawaiian War Chant translation

    To Lani, Gemini Cricket, or any others that may know about Hawaiian stuff/the Tiki Room:

    After an especially enjoyable Tiki Room visit, I went hunting online to find the lyrics to the Hawaiian War Chant. I found this page which has the whole song (very cool) and I'm going to have to get an mp3 so I can truly learn to sing it.

    Now I want to know - what does the song mean? Does anyone have a translation? I found this page which said the following:

    The Hawaiian lyrics to "Hawaiian War Chant," which is sung in the Tiki Room, are very difficult to find, but I finally found them on some very old sheet music. Here is the (only) verse and chorus:

    Tahuwai la a tahuwai wai la, Ehu hene la a pili koo lua la, Pututui lua ite toe la, Hanu lipo ita paalai. Au we ta hua la. Au we ta hua la.

    Unfortunately, the sheet music omitted all appearances of the kahako (macron) and kina (glottal stop) so it is very difficult to know exactly which Hawaiian words were intended. There are also English lyrics by Ralph Freed, but those aren't a translation of the Hawaiian lyrics, and whereas the Hawaiian version repeats the same verse throughout the song, the English version has different lyrics for each verse.
    Notice the different spellings of the lyrics. Due to the mention of English fake lyrics, I found
    this page. Oddly enough, it doesn't mention the Tiki Room at all, but if you read the English lyrics, you can hum the tune with it.

    Anyway, anyone know a real translation of the true Hawaiian War Chant?

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  3. #2

    La'a hine tuwa ma wa'i na'e.

    Translation: Cadaverous Pallor's links rule.

    "...I be willin' to share, I be!"

  4. #3
    carpe diem
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    I'm not sure about this one. I know that there is no "t" in the Hawaiian language but it is used in certain modern Hawaiian songs.

    I know the following (correct me if I'm wrong here):
    "Auwe" means "Oh" or "Ouch".
    "Pili" means to "cling" or "hold on to something".
    "Wai" is "water" or "liquid".
    "Lua" is a "hole" or "a bathroom".

    That's all I know. I remember (a loooong time ago) my sister had a kumu hula (hula teacher) who told her the song style is hapa haole (part white - meaning contemporized or Hollywood-ized) and the Hawaiian-ish lyrics are gibberish. But, I could be wrong, that was a long time ago.

    I tried to do a web search but came up empty. I'll try e-mailing a few die hard Hawaiian lyrics people. I'll let you know what I find...


  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by iwannabeanimagineer
    La'a hine tuwa ma wa'i na'e.

    Translation: Cadaverous Pallor's links rule.
    Thanks! There is a reason I like to tell people to go search for stuff. I never come here first with a question like this - I do google searches until I am sure I can't find it myself. And since I found such nifty links, I figured you guys might want to see 'em too.

    Thanks for the effort, GC, but "Ouch! Hold onto the bathroom liquid" probably isn't what the Imagineers had in mind.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadaverous Pallor
    Oddly enough, it doesn't mention the Tiki Room at all, but if you read the English lyrics, you can hum the tune with it.
    It isn't really that surprising that you found a page that talks about the song, but doesn't mention the Tiki Room. The song was actually written in the 1920s and was already a fairly well-known piece long before Disney used it. With the exception of the title song (which was an original), the Tiki Room uses songs that were fairly popular at the time that the attraction opened.

    For those that aren't Disney theme park fans, the most familiar versions of "Hawaiian War Chant" are probably Tommy Dorsey's version from the late 30s which was also used in the 1942 film "Ships Ahoy" and the parody version done by Spike Jones in the 1960s.

    I've always understood the lyrics to be nonsense. It wasn't a true Hawaiian standard and was really just written to sound Hawaiian.

    -Jeff
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    This page also has some other information about the song, including a purported translation of the original. And let's not forget about the sheet music.

  8. #7
    Insufferable Know-It-All
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    Wait, I thought I'd heard that the original song was a love song by some member of the ali'i about his girl, and that it wasn't, in fact, a war chant at all.

    Then again, if someone who should know says it's hapa haole, I'll believe that.

    [derail]
    Speaking of which, is anyone else a fan of the band Hapa? It's a Hawaiian guy and a Scottish guy and it's a sort of Hawaiian/Rock crossover dealie
    [/derail]

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  9. #8
    carpe diem
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Morrigoon
    [derail]
    Speaking of which, is anyone else a fan of the band Hapa? It's a Hawaiian guy and a Scottish guy and it's a sort of Hawaiian/Rock crossover dealie
    [/derail]
    I love Hapa. "Lei Pikake" is the most beautiful song. There's an acapella section at the beginning of this song that gives me "goosebumps" ("chicken skin" if you're from Hawai'i) just thinking about it. His voice is so passionate and clear, it makes you tear with joy. I love this song. Keli'i Kaneali'i has the great voice and Barry Flanagan writes wonderful songs and plays a mean guitar (not to mention he looks pretty fine on the CD cover).
    Love, love, love Hapa.
    Last edited by Gemini Cricket; 03-23-2004 at 08:03 PM. Reason: To change 'a acapella' to 'an acapella'. Me talk pretty some day...

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffG
    It isn't really that surprising that you found a page that talks about the song, but doesn't mention the Tiki Room. The song was actually written in the 1920s and was already a fairly well-known piece long before Disney used it. With the exception of the title song (which was an original), the Tiki Room uses songs that were fairly popular at the time that the attraction opened.

    For those that aren't Disney theme park fans, the most familiar versions of "Hawaiian War Chant" are probably Tommy Dorsey's version from the late 30s which was also used in the 1942 film "Ships Ahoy" and the parody version done by Spike Jones in the 1960s.

    I've always understood the lyrics to be nonsense. It wasn't a true Hawaiian standard and was really just written to sound Hawaiian.

    -Jeff
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    If you are so inclined and the cast member is willing, you can request to see the "written narration" for the Tiki Room. This is intended for use by hearing-impaired visitors, and has a very poor English transcription of the entire show, including the "Hawaiian" words.

    I have a copy of it somewhere - I remember being really surprised at how "off" it was from what you hear in the show. But it's another piece for your puzzle.

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  12. #11
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    See, I was always told that the song's lyrics were changed for the Disney version, and a translation is as follows:

    Cool we sit and avoid rolling baby cart afternoon
    Birds of feather on rack and permanently fixed
    Accent and names only partially offensive
    Please me pass confection fruit frozen

    Dust me, dust me.
    Not all mouths clack.
    Need a rehab
    Now is time.

    He sits alone on a giant throne pretending he's the king
    A little tyke who's rather like a puppet on a string
    Too late to be known as Bush the first, He's sure to be known as Bush the worst
    A pox on that phony (censored) (censored) (censored)!
    Kerry '04!

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by LSPoorEeyorick
    See, I was always told that the song's lyrics were changed for the Disney version, and a translation is as follows:
    It appears the ripples of the haiku thread are still being felt.

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