by Karl Hitzemann
In light of the devastating wildfires on the island of Maui in August of 2023, we thought a song about the concept of "kokua" would be appropriate. To put it simply, "kokua" means "help." But to the people of Hawaii, it goes much deeper than that. It is the spirit of kindness accompanied by a desire to help each other without expecting anything in return. Basically, help... no matter what.
The beginning of this song really sets the scene. We hear ocean waves on a beach, along with the sounds of nearby wildlife. A ukulele begins to play. Just a simple strum or two, thoughtfully, peacefully. The music then begins in bar one. At bar five, the ukuleles begin strumming. This can be just half notes or quarter notes, or something more rhythmic, depending on your players' skill level. There are five chords used – C, F, G, Ami, and Gsus. All five are fairly easy to play, especially the C and Ami chords, but you can simplify wherever you feel it's necessary. Also, for your convenience, there is an extracted ukulele part available on our web site. Note that the recorded accompaniment for "Kokua" includes the ukuleles. This is so your uke players can play along with them. If you would prefer an accompaniment track without the ukuleles, we are providing that on our web site, as well. The ukuleles are optional, of course.
Vocally, this song is a 2-part arrangement. While part 2 is also optional, it is rather integral to the piece. Part 1 sings the word "kokua" while part 2 explains the concept – "we'll help you," "we'll love you," "we understand," etc. It makes for a beautiful exchange between the two parts. Should you choose to use part 2, you'll find a rehearsal track for it also at our web site. This beautiful song ends as it began, with quiet ukuleles, ocean waves, and the soothing sounds of Hawaii.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.