This beautiful debut CD sparkles with the aloha these two musicians have for their listeners, each other, and the islands and music of Hawai`i. Close, pure vocal harmonies combine with scintillating slack-key guitar on traditional and modern Hawaiian songs, with a few hapa-haole numbers and original compositions added to the mix.
“Beautiful harmonies and crackerjack slack key.
We feel [Pulama’s] passion and love for nā mele o Hawai`i.”
- Kaleo and Elise Ching
(authors of Faces of Your Soul and Chi and Creativity)
“[Pulama’s] warmth and love for Hawai`i shines from within.”
(The Manaleo Hawaiian Cultural Foundation)
“A joy to listen to ...All [Pulama’s] harmonies and arrangements are beautiful”
- Kumu Haumea Aynaga
(Hula Halau: Hiva Nui~Na Pua O Ka Honua)
☼ About “The Song Within The Song”
Every Hawaiian song has a kaona—a hidden meaning that shimmers in the air when the song is sung. At one of our first performances, an audience member told us he liked “the song within the song” best.
Our kaona tells of a chance meeting after years of living close by, and of a makana—a gift of music—that only our joined hearts could open.
☼ About the songs
1. Ē Ku‘u Sweet Lei Poina‘ole / E Maliu Mai 7:21 (Emma De Fries / Irmgard Farden ‘Āluli)
These songs, E- Ku‘u Sweet Lei Poina‘ole (“My Sweet Unforgettable Lei”) and E Maliu Mai (“Hear My Call”), were among the first songs we played together. They immediately became our favorites and our most requested songs. These were defining moments for us, knowing that we were meant to be making music together.
2. Pua Hone 4:10 (Rev. Dennis Kamakahi)
Dennis Kamakahi, one of Hawai‘i’s most prolific and beloved songwriters, wrote this song as a marriage proposal for his “Honey Flower,” now his wife of many years. Our arrangement is based on the version by George Kahumoku Jr. Jim plays the bass, guitar, and ‘ukulele parts on a single guitar.
3. In A Little Hula Heaven 4:11 (Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger)
In A Little Hula Heaven was written for the 1937 Paramount film, Waikīkī Wedding. This arrangement was inspired by the wonderfully jazzy version from the 1990 Teresa Bright CD, Self Portrait.
4. KHBC 2:48 (Vicki I‘i Rodrigues)
This song was written for the very first broadcast of the Big Island’s first radio station on May 1, 1936. In March 2003, the Hilo Broadcasting Company announced the return of KHBC—“Ka home a‘o Pele” (“The home of Pele”)—to the Big Island airwaves.
5. Aloha Kaua‘i 2:15 (Maiki Aiu)
Because we loved it so much, we took this version of Aloha Kaua‘i straight from the source: kumu hula and songwriter Maiki Aiu’s 1970’s recording with her husband’s band, the Kahauanu Lake Trio. We picked up the tempo to accommodate our hula dancers.
6. E Ho‘olana No Lōkahi / E ‘Ilau Hoe Kākou 7:18 (James Romano)
Jim wrote these two songs for the annual canoe-blessing ceremony of the Lōkahi Outrigger Canoe Club of Petaluma, California. E Ho‘olana No Lōkahi (Launching for Lōkahi) uses chants to tell of the 1976 launching of the Hōkūle‘a, the double-hulled canoe that became the lodestar of the Hawaiian renaissance. On its maiden voyage, the Hōkūle‘a sailed from Hawai‘i to Tahiti, using only traditional methods of navigation. The chants used in the lyrics are: Ē Kia‘i, an invocation to the guardians and guides of the canoe-builders and crew, written by Mary Kawena Pukui; Kīauau, a traditional work chant used in pulling a canoe into the water; and Lolo ‘Ana, a traditional offering to the gods to keep the canoe safe upon the sea.
The second song, E ‘Ilau Hoe Kākou (“Let’s Paddle Together”), sings of gathering together with aloha for the sea and the canoe, and of working together as a whole.
7. Ku‘u Pua Mae‘ole 4:13 (Keali‘i Reichel)
Keali‘i Reichel is a kumu hula, singer, and haku mele whose vast collection of songs is a gift to harmony singers everywhere. In this song, “My Never-Fading Flower,” he sings a paean to a beloved “placed in the highest reaches…unsurpassed in the lover’s eyes.” Our arrangement adds a light touch of Brazilian jazz.
8. He Mele Ho‘ohiamoe No Adriane Sage 5:26 (James Romano)
Our friend Eddie Mendiola asked Jim to write this lullaby for his first granddaughter, Adriane Sage. Pili translated the lyrics into Hawaiian. Pu-lama, with Eddie and Pili, first performed this mele at Adriane Sage’s baptism.
9. Kamali‘i O Ka Pō 3:36 (Kawaikapuokalani K. Hewett)
A kahuna, healer, spiritual and cultural leader, chanter, loea kumu hula, and composer, Kawaikapuokalani K. Hewett is renowned for his beautiful mele, many based on Hawaiian ancestral lore and spiritual teachings. This gorgeous, hypnotic song invokes the Hawaiian creation story, underlined by a refrain which calls to the “Child of the Night” (and of the present day), implicitly urging her to carry forward the teachings of the kūpuna. Jim takes the lead in telling the story, while Paula weaves in the refrain.
10. Goodnight Leilani Ē 4:26 (Jack Pitman)
Jim says, “I love this song. It has a special place in my heart for my goddaughter, Laura. Laura is ten now, but I remember when she was just a baby. I would sit and hold her until she fell asleep in my arms. I would sing her this song and gently lay her down in her crib for a nap or a good night’s sleep—Goodnight Leilani Ē.”
11. Lilo Loa I Kou Maka 4:54 (James Romano)
The eyes are the gateway to the soul. To stand before this gate, in a place of love, healing, and creativity, and with the inner self open, is to glimpse the Realm of Souls. This song, “Lost In Your Eyes,” is music for that place of interconnectedness, oneness with, and aloha for, all things in the universe.
All arrangements by Pūlama, with contributions from Pili and Eddie Mendiola on He Mele Ho‘ohiamoe No Adriane Sage.
☼ About Pūlama:
Pūlama is the vocal/guitar duo of Jim Romano and Paula Kauapālaukī Rudman. They sing and play the music of Hawai‘i in the San Francisco Bay Area
The word “pulama” means “torch” in the Hawaiian language. It also means to care for, cherish, treasure and save.
When slack-key guitarist Jim Romano and singer Paula Kauapalauki Rudman met by chance at a healing conference in 2003 after years of living in the same neighborhood, they discovered a shared love of Hawai`i and Hawaiian music. “We started singing – and doing healing – together that first day.” Performances for local audiences soon followed. They are beloved for their beautiful, meticulous versions of Hawaiian mele as well as for the creativity and aloha they bring to all their music. People frequently say it is rare to find two voices that blend so beautifully, and one listener remarked that Pulama’s music is “like velvet for the heart.”