‘Across the seas, we’re family’

LIHUE — When Chucky Boy Chock came to Kathleen Dahill, he had the melody for a song. Not just any old song. This one was for children to sing in honor of Hokulea, the legendary voyaging canoe from Hawaii.

So this song had to shine like the sun. It had to stand out. It had to tell a story of past, present and future. It had to have meaning.

When the two of them were finished composing words and music, it did. Their collaboration clicked. They had what they were after: “Hokulea is for Children.”

“It’s a simple melody,” Dahill said. “It’s childlike in its own way.”

Now, they need to children to sing it.

Chock, a Kauai musician and historian, said the song does two things: pays tribute to Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and involves kids.

“There’s many pieces to this whole thing,” he said. “We’re a small part of it. It’s for us to contribute musically. That’s our part.”

Hokulea on Friday reached another “first” in her adventure when it arrived on the shores of Cuba. The vessel reached Havana after traveling over a thousand nautical miles from the British Virgin Islands, where the canoe was most recently docked.

Before it’s done, the voyage will cover over 60,000 nautical miles, 100 ports and 27 nations. It left from Hawaii in 2013 with an estimated sail conclusion date of June 2017.

“The voyage seeks to engage all of Island Earth — practicing how to live sustainably while sharing Polynesian culture, learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the precious place we call home,” said a press release.

When an inspired Chock began working on the song to mark the beginning of the trip in 2013, he already had a chorus in his head.

“It just came,” he said. “Songs come in many ways. This was one of those songs that just came.”

He went to Dahill, a composer, musician and lyricist who lives on Kauai.

“He came in and played this song with his guitar and said, ‘Where are we going to go with this?’” Dahill said.

“Her musical talent is a puka in what I do,” Chock said. “I don’t arrange with the piano. That’s what she does. So it’s kind of a good fit we came together.”

That was in February 2013. A month later, they had their song, whose lyrics include lines like: “Hokulea holds a promise of tomorrow, strong and free. Hokulea breaks through the darkness guiding our voyage of unity. Across the sea, we’re family.”

Both writers deflect credit for the song.

“It was more like it was downloaded,” Dahill said. “It doesn’t come from us. It comes through us.”

Now comes the next step in their journey and perhaps the most important: Forming what they’re calling the “Malama Honua Youth Choir.”

They’re looking for kids, ages 8 to 13, to audition on April 10 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Lihue Christian Church on Kress Street.

They’ll select about 25 kids to learn the song, “Hokulea is for Children,” practice it, and record it in the studio.

The goal is for the song to become part of a documentary being about Hokulea and the Worldwide Voyage.

Both are confident Kauai’s youth are filled with beautiful voices. And they believe the island’s youth are disciplined and dedicated, too, which will be needed for this project.

“These children are perfectly capable of doing this,” Dahill said. “There’s so much talent on this island. They are very musical.”

Chock said it’s important children be aware of Hokulea and get involved, too. The next generation of kids will be the new navigators, he said, who will continue the resurgence of seafaring raised by Hokulea.

“That was the inspiration,” he said.

Dahill said the voyage has been documented by mele. “And we want to have children represented, too,” she said.

Dahill, who moved here seven years ago, loves the Hawaiian lifestyle, music and traditions. She plans to teach the choir about the singing and music, and about Hawaiian culture, too, because it’s important traditions be carried on. She wants them to feel empowered and to feel pride when they sing “Hokulea is for Children.”

“I really see in these children tremendous potential to keep their cultural heritage and participate in modern society,” she said. “It’s not just about the future. They’re connecting to their ancestors, to the voyagers of the past.”

Info: Chock, 245-1814

Words and music by Chucky Boy Chock and Kathleen Dahill 

Hokulea is for children, star of gladness, star of dreams. Hokulea brings a smile from Hawaii to the world. 

Your loving light, forever bright. We sing for joy, Olie! 

HUI: We are sailing far, shining like a star. Hokulea, Hokulea. 

Hokulea holds a promise of tomorrow, strong and free. 

Hokulea breaks through the darkness guiding our voyage of unity. Across the sea, we’re family. We sing for joy, Olie! 

HUI: We are sailing far, shining like a star. Hokulea, Hokulea. 

Hokulea is for children, a journey of aloha, peace and joy. 

Hokulea is for children, for our future — each girl and boy. 

HUI: We are sailing far, shining like a star. Hokulea, Hokulea. Hokulea light our way. Hokulea. 

Part 3 

Na keiki o Hawaii nei Malama o ka aina 

Holoimua 

Hokulea, na pua o Hawaii nei Hokulea, e aloha e 

Olie! Hokulea 

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