Lu’a

Glyph of the word 'lu'a'.

lu’a

  • (v.) to chant
  • (n.) chanting
  • (adj.) chanted

He lu’a ue ie eili kau.
“Let us chant the sun down.”

Notes: Today’s iku is a bit odd. Using the Kamakawi “head” glyph base, the syllabic glyph for ha is used as the mouth. This both gives a clue as to the pronunciation of the glyph, and also serves as a kind of evocative reminder of what the word means (the chant being a river that comes from the mouth).

On the Kamakawi islands, there’s an old tradition of going to the western edge of the island and chanting as the sun goes down. It’s not done every day—or even once a month—but on special occasions (weddings, births, funerals)—but even then, not all of them. Just certain ones. Someone will lead, but others can join in, with the chant leader setting the phrasal chanting patterns, and others joining in. I have a very specific idea for how this works, and could probably write about it, but that’ll have to wait for another day.

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