The sky's gray and it is cold and wet outside again. We still don't have any period Christmas Music so it's time to go to back to Hawaii and listen to those relaxing Hawaiian melodies. But lets go to the Hawaii of the turn of the century (the last century not this one). Well actually at the turn of the century most people didn't go anywhere, so let Hawaii come to us in the form of the Royal Hawaiian Band as it visits the Chicago Fair in 1895 and the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905.
Music by: Capt. Henri Berger Lyrics by: King Kalakaua
Cover artist: unknown
First lets listen to "HAWAII PONOI" the Hawaiian National Anthem. Written by Prussian Band Master Captain Henri Berger. The lyrics written by "The Merry Monarch", King Kalakaua. "Hawaii Ponoi" is from the royal or monarchy period in Hawaiian Music around the end of the 1800s.
Hawaii's own true sons
Nanai kou moi
Be loyal to your chief.
Kalani Alii Ke Alii
Your country's liege and lord.
Music and Lyrics by: H.M. Queen Liliuokalani Cover Artist: unknown
Another song from the monarchy period and out of the Royal Collection is "Aloha Oe,"
In the late 1800s The Royal Family became not only patrons of the arts but contributors as well. Around 1872 Prussian bandmaster Captain Henri Berger was brought to Hawaii to lead the Royal Hawaiian Band. By the time Capt. Berger arrived, Hawaiians had already been singing Christian hymns, Hawaiian cowboys had developed PANIOLO (the early precursor to KI HO'ALU or SLACK KEY) from the music of the Spanish vaqueros and a little four-stringed instrument called a braga or cavaquinho from Portugal had captured the heart of all Hawaiian's including the Royal Family, we now know that instrument as the Ukelele.
For the next 43 years Capt. Berger lead the Royal Hawaiian Band taking it to the Chicago Fair in 1895 and to the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. But he also fell in love with the developing musical heritage of Hawaii and collaborated with the Royal Family, many of whom by now had become avid musicians in their own right and other Hawaiian musicians. What evolved is the music know known as Monarchy music.
King Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani, Queen Kapiolani, Princess Kawananakoa, Princess Likelike all composed songs or wrote lyrics to music composed by Captain Berger during the monarchy period.
As you might guess with much of the music written or arraigned by a Prussian Band Master, there were a lot of marches and waltzes written during that time in Hawaiian music.
The most famous of the Royal compositions is "Aloha Oe,". And while critics are quick to point out that it "strongly" resembles or at least borrows heavily from the works of others, today we all remember the melody as "Aloha Oe," and it forms the definitive core of what we think of as Hawaiian music today.
My Hula-Hula Love Song
Music by: ? Violinsky Lyrics by: Howard Johnson Cover artist: JVR
Monarchy music had run it's course by the early 1900s. And while paniolo and slack key were developing as well as the new guitar style of slide or steel guitar were developing. on the island the rest of the world hadn't caught on yet. A good deal of this of course had to do with the nature of travel and communications during the time. There essentially wasn't any. No television or even radio, no records, no airplanes, no automobiles or even real roads between towns. People traveled by train or horseback or for the adventurous world traveler there was the boat some were steam powered but many still traveled under sail. If people had even heard of Hawaii it was third hand and much of it the stuff of imagination. But still the magic of the Islands had its way and a few early songs about Hawaii begin to surface.
Let's listen to "My Hula-Hula Love Song" written in 1911.
I am not sure whether Mr. Wenrich the composer had ever heard any music from Hawaii, but it is pretty clear from the Middle Eastern looking women on the cover illustration that Mr. Starmer who illustrated hundreds of sheet music covers from the period had no idea of anything Hawaiian, other than the palm trees of course.
Music by: Jack Alau Lyrics by: S. Kalama Cover artist: Unknown
By 1915 the world was a different place and in the United States people were finally connected and San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Over a period of a few months millions of Americans attended the fair, and most of them probably saw the Royal Hawaiian Quartet, featuring slack-key guitarist Joe Kekuku as well as other Hawaiian musicians and dancers. It was new and exciting and the Tin Pan Alley music machine jumped all over it. Starting in 1916 Hawaiian music took center stage not just in America but around the world. If it was Hawaiian, was related to something Hawaiian, or could be mistaken for something Hawaiian it was a hit. Tribute songs, parodies it didn't matter Americans ate it up. Even non-Hawaiian music fell victim of the Ukelele craze and Uke chord charts graced the top of nearly every piece of sheet music for nearly 50 years.
Lets start with a piece written by two Hawaiians in 1906 called "ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR". Rick who generally supplies the content for these pages and who labored mightily on the midi presentations for this month calls it one of the worst songs ever written. It wouldn't be quite so sad but there were several different publications of this piece. I own two. It was reissued in 1917 to cash in on the new Hawwaiian craze.
After much work on it Rick has decided that it should only be played on the accordion, so we have included two versions.
The lyrics to the chorus go;
One! Two! Three! Four!
Some-times I wish there were more;
Ein! Zwei! Drei! Viere!
I Love the one that's near.
Yet! Nee! Sam! See!
So say the heathen Chinee;
Fair girls bereft there will get left,
One, Two, and Three.
Honolulu America Loves You
Music by: Jimmie V. Monaco Lyrics by: Grant Clark & Eddie Cox Cover artist: unknown (Rose Symbol)
Even though by this time millions of Americans have heard real Hawaiian musicians and music, most of what the rest of America hears is something else altogether. Part of it of course goes back to the level of technology. In 1916 if you heard music, it was a generally a live performance not a recording or a radio broadcast. And while Hawaiian musicians proved to be very peripatetic, there just weren't enough of them to go around. So the rest of us heard songs about Hawaii, and soon we came to accept them as Hawaiian music.
Our next piece is a tribute song from 1916. "Honolulu America Loves You"
While sounding much like many of the marches or even rags of the period, hidden within it are a couple of 3 or 4 note runs that hint at some of the cliches we have come to know as Hawaiian.
Yaaka Hula Hicky Dula (Hawaiian Love Song)
Words and Music by: E. Ray Goetz, oe Young & Pete Wendling Cover artist: Barbelle
Now lets look at a novelty song of the period. Introduced by Al Jolson in "Yaaka Hula Hicky Dula (Hawaiian Love Song)" is a nice little piece of music that has lots of slack key cliches and other Hawaiian themes intertwined in its melody. It also features some word play that is common in parody pieces. The Hawaiian language , by western standards, has a relatively small number of syllables. The result of having few syllables is having long words. Long words that, again by Western standards are pretty darn hard to say. This of course makes them perfect fodder for novelty songs. Also there are no rules that say you have to use real words, Hawaiian or otherwise, as long as it gets a laugh. YA A KA at least sounds Hawaiian, of course HULA is real but "HICKI DULA"? But hey it's 1916, we don't know any better and we are having fun.
My Own Iona
Music by: Anatol Friedland & Carey Morgan Lyrics by: L. Wolfe Morgan Cover artist: unknown
Now we come to my favorite song of the group. "My Own Iona (moi - one - ione)" Billed on the cover as Hawaii's favorite love song. Whether or not it was ever heard in Hawaii is up to conjecture but it is a beautiful piece of music that evokes much of what we expect to hear in Hawaiian music. I drove Rick crazy with this one. The way I play it on the guitar, it sounds very vintage Hawaiian. The way it is written sounds more like a march. Rick sequenced it as written, which is our general procedure, I hated it. He did it again, I hated it. He revoiced it, changed the tempo, transposed the melody by an octave, finally he basically rewrote the entire piece. It sounds really good, not what I hear when I read the sheet but good. This of course is part of the big question about Hawaiian music. What is it really, do these songs sound Hawaiian because they reflect the real music of Hawaii. Or did Hawaiian music of the period evolve to meet the expectations of the West. And is Hawaiian music the true progenitor of Modern Country Western music, the Delta Blues and hence Rock and Roll? I don't think we are ready for that yet but stay tuned I have lots more Hawaiian music.
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