“Auhea Wale Oe Ei Nei” is the original composition of Lincoln Aldosa. His mele won a Ka ‘Umeke Ka’eo Native Hawaiian Writing Achievement Award in 2011. Lincoln’s notes and kaona of his mele are excerpted here:
The inspiration for this mele was my mother. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Kapuahaulani Aldosa. She was a great singer from a family of musicians. She died in 2007, right after I graduated high school. My siblings and I did a lot of things while she was sick, simply because we knew it would make her happy, and I think that’s why we all started to play music.
I wrote this song at age 19. I had waited until after she passed before learning to play music. I always refused to believe that she was really dying, and I never told her how I felt. I waited too long to do all these things, so if I could go back, what would I say? From this thought came the idea for this song.
To pick up on all the kaona in this mele, you would need to know a lot about my family and me. Let me give you one example of the kaona. The first line in this mele, “Auhea wale oe, ei nei” translates to “Where are you, ei nei” or, “Are you listening, ei nei”. The dual meaning of “auhea” is a good example of kaona. I am asking if mom is listening because she is no longer with us, and the question of where she is conveys a sense of being lost without her.
Hawaiian language in music needs to evolve. We need to see an innovative use of the Hawaiian language in music. The old songs are great, and I love to listen to them, but if we don’t write our own mele, the language might start to fade again. This is why I believe that everything written in the Hawaiian language has something to do with Hawaiian issues, because when the ‘oli, mele, hula, music, and art cease to exist, so will the Hawaiian language.