A Hawaiian Summer

by Karl Hitzemann

While there are words for all four seasons in the Hawaiian language, there are only two different seasons that actually occur. Winter, which runs from November to April, and Summer, which runs from May to October. The summer season (ke kau wela), has an average daytime temperature around 85° F and a calmer ocean. We thought it'd be fun to write a song that talks a bit about summer in Hawai'i. And, of course, we just had to feature ukuleles as well.

Since the ukuleles start right away in bar 1, there is a full one bar set-up in the drums. So, make sure your players are paying attention so that they can come in on time. You'll notice that there is a rhythmic pattern written out for your players, plus a few single string, plucked notes. However, if they'd like to be more creative, they can strum freely to the beat of the song. You could also create a simpler pattern if that works better for your group. On the full performance and accompaniment tracks, we have a ukulele playing the part as written. By the way, an extracted ukulele part is available with the online extras for this issue. There are three chords used – C6, G7, and F.

The melody is very easy to learn and the lyrics contain several summer-related words. A list of each word, its meaning, and pronunciation can be found below. Note that on the performance track for this piece we chose to pronounce Hawai'i with the "v" sound – "Ha-vye-ee," instead of "Ha-why-ee." Both are considered correct, but we wanted to keep the "v" sounds consistant between wela and Hawai'i. Feel free to sing it whichever way works best for you and your performers.

The song features a very Hawaiian-sounding accompaniment, of course. Be sure to bring out the grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts, leis, etc., for a perfect tropical scene during your performance.

the summer season: ke kau wela "kay kah-oo veh-lah"
calm: malie "mah-lee"
the rain: ka ua "kah oo-ah"
sun: la "lah"
pleasant, agreeable: 'olu'olu "oh-loo oh-loo"
warm: mahana "mah-ha-nah"
beautiful sea: kainani "keye-nah-nee"

Hula, anyone?

If you're really in the mood to embrace the Hawaiian summer vibe, consider adding movement. Our favorite choreographer, Melissa Schott, has put together a video and some teaching notes that you can use exactly as is, or adapt as you wish.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.