Auf einem Holztisch steht eine Ukulele.

HAMAKUA von Nahko And Medicine For The People


[Verse 1]

Before Hāmākua
Who the hell were ya?
And do you know by now?
Remember the waiting
For water falling
And concentrating on myself
The quiet ōhi`a
Gave me the fever
To push through cracks and reach for light


`Oi Kau Kala
E Hana I Ola Honua
Honua, Honua

[Verse 2]

Before 7 Feathers
Gave me his sweater
I’d be the brave and bear the cold
I found myself seeking
A false understanding
Of what is truth and honesty
I kept on stretching out
All of his blessings
And learned to scream above the rain

Nahko lightly touched on this chorus in an interview, saying:

    …the chorus [to ‘Hamakua’] is in Hawai’ian as well, and means ‘while the earth still moves do [all you can].’

This translation most likely refers to the protection and preservation of the planet and its resources, which has been a staple of Nahko and Medicine for the People’s activism since day one. In addition to raising awareness through music and working with clean-energy organizations like, Nahko participated in the People’s Climate March and Run4Salmon, opposed the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea (a project which got approved less than a month before this album’s release), and joined the protest of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Since the Hawaiian language can often be a bit ambiguous in how it translates, the chorus could also be interpreted in other ways. For example:

‘Oi Kau roughly means “very best”
Kala is an old teaching or principle meaning “there are no limits”
E Hana roughly means “to behave” or “to work”
I Ola here could be “while alive”
Honua means Earth, or in this case “on Earth”

That could make the chorus something along the lines of “Do the very best. There’s no limit to work while alive on Earth”—a similar message translated a different way.