Song reveals connection between Tu’imala and King of Ukulele, Sione ‘Āleki

Mālie ko e fetu'utaki 'a e kau punake 'iloa 'o e ngaahi 'aho ko ee' 'o 'i ai 'a e ngaahi hiva ne fa'u ko e fa'u pe 'a e punake ki he punake. Kuo fakahā 'e Tu'imala Kaho ko e hiva 'iloa ko e Ta Kuo Te Si'i 'Au'auhia, ko e fa'u ia 'a Sione 'Āleki, Tu'i 'o e 'Ukulele', kiate ia. 'Oku sipela'aki pe 'a e ngaahi mata'itohi 'e fitu 'o e hingoa 'o Tu'imala' 'a e lea kamata 'o e ngaahi veesi taki taha 'e fitu 'o e hiva' ni. Vakai ki lalo 'i he ngata'anga 'o e fakamatala 'i he lea 'Ingilisi' ki he ngaahi kupu' mo hono sipela'aki 'a e hingoa 'o Tu'imala. Na'e hiki mo hiva'i pe 'a e hiva' ni 'e Sione pea toe hiki foki 'e he Feauni 'o e Sopu 'o Tāufa ka na'e 'ikai kakato e ngaahi vēsi' he'enau hiki. Pea lahi 'aupito mo hano toe hiki mai ki mui' ni 'e he kau hiva kehekehe pe ka 'oku feto'oto'oaki 'a e ngaahi kupu' 'o 'ikai muimui ki hono 'olisinolo' 'a e ko e hokohoko pe 'o hono sipela e hingoa 'o Tu'imala.

A well-known Tongan love song, Ta Kuo Te Si’i ‘Au’auhia, was composed by the late Sione ‘Āleki for Tu’imala Kaho.

Tu’imala, a well-known Tongan poetess, singer and choreographer, revealed this in an interview with Kaniva News in Auckland recently.

Tu’imala said the song had seven verses, each of which began with one of the seven letters of her name – Tu’imala.

When pressed about the meaning of the song, she smiled and said it was just typical of Tongan poets and musicians to compose songs about some one they loved, respected, looked up to  or they thought were worth singing about.

The song was very popular with Tongan singers and many have recorded it.

Tu’imala said the Late Queen Salote Tupou III, who was regarded as the best poetess of Tongan modern times, had composed many songs about her half-sister, Princess ‘Elisiva Fusipala Tauki’onetuku, who lived from 26 July 1912 to  21 April 1933.

Tu’imala said a number of high chiefs courted Princess Tauki’onetuku. When the Queen was interested in a particular chief and willing him to marry her half-sister, she composed a song for him.

These songs included ‘Eva e Loto ni Hange Ha misi which was composed by the Queen for Toutaiolepo when he courted the princess. Uisa si’i fa, was composed for the Late ‘Ulukalala when he courted the princess. Another was Loto He Kelekele,  which Tu’imala said it was composed by the Queen as a song for late Veikune Lala about his courtship with the princess.

The princess never married any of these chiefs. She left for New Zealand and died while studying there.

The Queen also composed songs about her husband, children and the royals.

‘Āleki, who composed and recorded his own songs, was described by the ukulele playing community in the South Pacific as the King of Ukulele.

He could play every style from every Pacific island and what really made him exceptional was that he could make his audience extremely excited by the way he played the uke.

He’d roll over and over on the floor while playing his ukulele behind his head, or with his foot, or his teeth, or almost any part of his body.

‘Āleki became widely known to the Pacific islands after he moved to New Zealand in the early 1980s and played with the late Bill Sevesi of Tonga.

Ta Kuo Te Si’i ‘Au’auhia:

Ta kuo te si’i ‘au’auhia
‘I he ‘ōseni ‘o e li’ekina
Kumi si’i lupe mana’ia
Lose tu’u ‘i he lilifa

‘Uluaki koe ‘i he kolope
Huhulu ‘i he ongo pole
Palanite ‘oku na ulo ma’u pe
‘Āvea ai si’i loto ni ē

‘Ise’isa e he me’a mamahi
Feohi moe ‘Ikale Tahi
Luki tenifa hono tahi
Melemo ai si’i vaivai.

Māhina hopo ‘o fakanonoa
Tēkina ai si’ete ‘ofa
‘amusia pe tavake mo e lofa
Ko au ni kuo mounuvaoa

‘Amusia pe si’i manupuna
‘Oku ne kapa he taua
Ka te si’i nofo ‘o loto mo’ua
Tekina he fisi’inaua

Loka e matapā si’o fale
Ka teu vivili atu pe
Tali fekau kiate koe
Uisa pe teu si’i fēfē

‘Amanaki e ke ta māvae
Ka teu si’i uiui pe
Ho’o to’onga ne malave ma’u pe
Hoto kōfini ki he mate

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