ʻAlu

ʻalu

vi. Depression, gutter, ravine; lines of the hand, loose skin over the eyeball; tuck in a garment, shirring, ruffling; descent, as of trail or road; of low rank (Kep. 125); to bend, duck, hang, sag, slacken, stoop; to relax; to ruff, as a mat.

ʻAlu is not to be confused with alu. What? Okay. Maybe if I write it like this: Ke alu vs. Ka ʻalu. One is a stative verb (alu) and one is an intransitive verb (ʻalu). I know. You don’t even want to know. Just remember that one has an ʻokina before it and that one means gutter or ravine or to sag or slacken. And the other (alu) means to work together and cooperate. Okay put that aside. And if you see me in passing and still don’t understand, maybe we can have a short language lesson.

But I bet you know kī hōʻalu! Slack key. Oh yeah. You love Hawaiian music, right? And you swoon at the lovely sounds of Sonny Lim, ʻae? And maybe some Willy K? Oh my. Makes me close my eyes just talking about it. Kī hōʻalu translates as slack (hōʻalu = to cause slacking or sagging) key (kī). Fancy right? to slack the keys which is what happens when you play slack key guitar. You slack a couple of the strings and then beauty commences. Did you also know that kī hōʻalu originated in Hawaiʻi? Another crowning glory of our islands. And look, just like surfing and steel guitar, everybody like jump on the bandwagon. JUMP EVERYBODY. We share beauty with all.

Speaking of beauty, here are two of my favorite kanaka hoʻokani kī hōʻalu – favorite slack key guitar musician Hawaiians – Cyril Pahinui and Sonny Lim (Waimea’s own!!!).

You may be familiar with the term, ʻaluʻalu. Loose, flabby; misshapen, as a premature baby; slack, as a rope; to sag; wrinkled, uneven, rough, lined; foetus; skin, rind, peel. When your clothes is all baggy or wrinkled, stay all ʻaluʻalu. GO CHANGE EM!

No Kaʻaluʻalu nō hoʻi kūpuna – Naturally, when the ancestors hailed from Kaʻaluʻalu. (A play on ʻaluʻalu. Said of any person whose clothes do not fit properly or whose bundles are not secure. Kaʻaluʻalu is located in Kaʻū. )

Copyright: 2017 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of “He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited without written consent. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Address inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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