In light of the recent legislation passed here in Juneau benefiting the oil companies, and in anticipation of the return of the cruise ships to our shores, a little history about the song, Waimanalo Blues seems to be in order.
Waimanalo Blues by Liko Martin and Thor Wold, 1974
Chords & lyrics at Tropical Storm Hawaii
Performed by Henry Kapono, Izrael Kamakawiwo’ole, Cyril Pahinui, and Roland Cazimero at an old Hawaiian homestead on Oahu in 1993.
“This song was written by Thor Wold and Liko Martin in Hawaii in the 1970’s to protest the increasing development of the islands of Hawaii. Although the song focused on the Windward side, the concern was for all the islands and the rights of the Hawaiian people, as it was in that way a protest song of the folk narrative style.” – Carol Forsloff
Waimanalo Blues Wind's gonna blow so I'm gonna go Down on the road again Starting where the mountains left me I'm up where I began Where I will go the wind only knows Good times around the bend Get in my car, goin' too far Never comin' back again Tired and worn I woke up this mornin' Found that I was confused Spun right around and found I had lost The things that I couldn't lose CHORUS: The beaches they sell to build their hotels My fathers and I once knew Birds all along sunlight at dawn Singing Waimanalo blues Down on the road with mountains so old Far on the country side Birds on the wing forget in a while So I'm headed for the windward side All of your dreams Sometimes it just seems That I'm just along for the ride Some they will cry because they have pride For someone who's loved here died The beaches they sell to build their hotels My fathers and I once knew Birds all along sunlight at dawn Singing Waimanalo blues
We had the pleasure of seeing Cyril Pahinui (son of Gabby Pahinui) play when we were home in the islands last Christmas. He was so smooth on slack key, with skillful accompaniment by Jeff Au Hoy on steel and Peter Moon, Jr. on ‘ukulele and guitar. Ironically, they perform at the Kani Ka Pila Grill in the Outrigger Reef in Waikiki at, yes, one of “their hotels”. But the servers were locals and very friendly and the music was full-on Hawaii. Cyril came over in between sets to say hello and pose for a picture with a fan. A class act. If you are on O’ahu and have a free Wednesday evening, I recommend checking the calendar and going to hear them play.
Cyril Pahinui was part of another ensemble performing Waimanalo Blues, this time with Arlo Guthrie. It was for a TV show, “The Byrds of Paradise” back in 1994. Juneau Jazz & Classics is bringing Guthrie to Juneau in a few weeks. I wonder if we could get him to play it. Guthrie now owns the rights to the song.
Speaking of artists to check out when you are in Hawaii, a fellow Jambuster recently returned from visiting Hilo, on Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island) and came across another talented young ukulele artist, Brittni Paiva. He says if you scroll down the full list of her YouTube Uploads to the 30-40th of the 80+ posted, there are some useful lessons. Thanks Mark!