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Buke Mele Lahui (Book of National Songs)

By: Hawaiian Historical Society

This volume brings together expressions of abiding devotion to Hawai i—the land, the ruling monarchs, the independent and sovereign kingdom. Many of these expressions are direct responses to the turmoil of the late 19th century, in particular the 1887 promulgation of the Bayonet Constitution that disenfranchised so many subjects of the Hawaiian kingdom, the 1889 revolt that attempted to reverse the erosion of those civil rights, the 1893 overthrow of Queen Lili uokalani, and the counterrevolution in 1895 by loyalists trying to restore the Queen to the throne. In late 1895, Francisco Jose Testa, editor of Ka Makaainana, collected 105 mele together in one volume to be published as Buke Mele Lahui. Testa, known as “Hoke” in Hawaiian, refers to these compositions as “mele aloha aina,” patriotic songs or songs of loyalty. Outpourings of such loyalty to the kingdom and monarchy were cast poetically and published regularly in pro-royalist Hawaiian-language newspapers of the time, especially Hawaii Holomua, Ka Lei Momi, Ka Leo o ka Lahui, Ka Makaainana, and Nupepa Ka Oiaio. Although Testa's introduction states that these texts we...

This book contains a selection of compiled national songs of Hawaii.

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