Nu'oli (satb)

Catalog ID: S-478
Translation: Glad tidings
First Line: Glad tidings! Glad tidings! What wonderful news!
Composer: Robert Lowry, arr. Jace Saplan
Author: Luke 2:10, trans. Lorenzo Lyons
Voicing: satb
Language: Hawaiian
Country: usa
Series: Eo: Choral Music of the Hawaiian
Other: new 2021


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Nu ‘Oli

Originally known as Glad Tidings, the hymn was then translated by Lorenzo Lyons or Makua Laiana (Father Lyons), an early missionary who arrived in 1831 and spent the remainder of his life amongst the Hawaiian people.  He is known for his work in translating works to the Hawaiian language and created the first hymnal entirely written in the Hawaiian language.


According to Native scholars, this passage was chosen to be sung at the first public worship of a Congregationalist church in Hawaii on April 23, 1820, which resulted in a complex history between the Hawaiian people and Christian belief, and also an origin of hymn singing in the Hawaiian language.

I arranged this piece to honor our history through the lens of a Hawaiian cultural practitioner. The arrival of the Congregationalist church in Hawaiʻi  has been fraught with controversy and trauma. Our traditions were banned, our bodies were shamed, and our souls deemed unworthy. However, this work has also brought joy. I grew up singing Nū ʻOli with my mother who would sing this hymn to lull me to sleep, my grandmother who taught me this hymn on her ʻukulele, and like many Hawaiians, Nū ʻOli was my first encounter with the hymn singing tradition. This piece helped keep our language alive and fostered connection within Hawaiʻi. I honor the legacy of this work and the hurt and goodness that it brings.

Dr. Jace Kaholokula Saplan

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