Keali’i Reichel Photo by Hawaii Magazine

It Was a Song written from the Heart

Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner Keali’i Reichel became one of Hawaii’s most popular indigenous artist throughout the 1990s. In just a short period of time, Keali’i accumulated more than a dozen Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Reichel captured fans on both the U.S. mainland and internationally. Keali’i became the first choice to open for major American and international artists. He was what Hawaii would call a SUPERSTAR. On a day flying into Honolulu, he wrote a song, a song of love from the heart.


This beautiful mele, E’o Mai was created on a short airplane ride to Honolulu from his home on Maui.  It was his final assignment in his Hawaiian Language class that semester. He flew into Honolulu every week for a class from his friend and Hawaiian language educator and composer Puakea Nogelmeier. The course was on haku mele or song and chant composition. The students knew that they would have to come up with a chant or song for their final project.

On a Short Plane Ride Into Honolulu

One day on a  flight into Honolulu, Keali’i realized that he forgot to do his homework. He needed to submit a haku mele for his final grade. With not much time on his hand, Keali’i started writing on a napkin and pen from the flight attendant. Natural elements and poetry came to mind. This song was of love with the element of water.  The context, making love. What Reichel transcribed was the beautiful mele E’o Mai.  He wrote a Song from the heart.


On a twenty minute flight into Honolulu, this beautiful mele was created. It is a love song with a tune that entrances the listener to fall in love. And because he followed his heart, Keali’i received an A for it and passed his course with flying colors.


Keali’i Reichel 


Aloha, ‘Ae Luv Hula