It was 40 years ago that Hokulea voyaged to Tahiti and back for the first time. Her triumphant return home, to Magic Island, saw thousands of people turn out to greet her among the crowd, 10-year-old Kelly Boy DeLima, lead singer of Kapena.
He remembers that excitement and pride he felt, and it welled up again this summer, when he saw a photo.
In his son’s recording studio a few months ago, Kelly Boy DeLima’s daughter Kalena showed him a photo—Hokulea sailing by the Statue of Liberty last June.
“She goes dad you gotta see this picture and I look at it and there’s Hokulea in a harbor, not our harbor, but in a harbor of New York City and I thought to myself, oh my god man I had tears in my eyes,” said Kelly Boy.
“Right there he was like see I told you guys we have to write a song for Hokulea I’m going outside right now I’m gonna write it,” said Kalena.
“The feeling that just came over me and I sing about it is pride, going start crying already but the last verse goes, with tears in my eyes the heart filled with so much pride,” added Kelly Boy.
“But for us when dad came in with the first verse and the chorus for that song, you could tell it was a hit from the beginning,” explained Kalena. ” These kids when they heard the song they were excited and inspired and for us that was confirmation that we were on the right path.”
That’s because these kids were there when Hokule’a arrived in New York Harbor, part of a statewide group of charter school students.
So they sing the chorus, and the chant at they end, they chanted for Hokulea in New York.
The single “Hokulea, Malama Honua” is available on iTunes with all proceeds donated to Hokulea and her mission, Kelly Boy calls it his little hookupu, gift for Hokule’a and all the voyagers.