Aloha ʻOe – Kawaiahao Seminary Quartet

Mahalo a nui to record collector Ryan Erickson who posted this recording on his YouTube channel then shared it with the Facebook group Hawaiian Music From The Golden Age. This is one of four recordings this group made for Victor Records. Discographer Malcolm Rockwell dates the recordings to July 1904, and discusses evidence that these recordings were likely made in New York City.

Note how the singers render the rhythm of “Aloha ʻoe” at the beginning of the chorus.

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Wai – Waiwai – Waipuna

Waipuna Poki SP-9089

Waipunaʻs self-titled release (Poki SP-9089) celebrates the groupʻs 10th anniversary. Originally a duo of Kale Hannahs and Matt Sproat, David Kamakahi came on board by the time of the groupʻs EP, Nāpili, released in 2013. Their 2014 release, E Mau Ke Aloha, remains in rotation on my playlists. So it was a given that this new release—their first since 2014—would be welcome.

Iʻll admit it took a few playings for things to start to groove. Chalk it up not to anything on the CD itself, but to the disruptions of reality drenched in multitasking and social media. You know how it goes—press play, return to a memo, before you know it track 4 is on, then get lost in Facebook, resurface to catch a phrase of track 7, answer some texts, and suddenly the CD is over. Repeat, and maybe bits of tracks 3, 8 and 11 break through into consciousness. And so it goes.

But after a few such listenings, I found my attention span getting longer. Then I started reaching for the liner notes to read up on individual songs. Then I began to read around the song I was listening to, then reaching over to click on repeat or previous track, and even restarting from the beginning. After a few times of this routine, I found myself listening from start to finish, and thoughts began welling up about themes. So back to the liner notes, then back to the start of the CD with the liner notes in hand.

So, Dear Readers, this post is about Waipunaʻs CD, but it is also about the rewards of taking in an album in its entirety and not simply cherry-picking out the favorite tracks and leaving behind the rest. (If anything, there is no filler on this CD. None, zip, nada. Everything is intentional. Everything.)

In the liner notes, I noticed that the terms wai and waiwai (or both together) followed each of the song titles, somewhat cryptically. A Skype conversation with Kale Hannahs this past May helped to tease out many streams of thought about how wai, waiwai, and waipuna are the keys to appreciating the arc pulsing throughout the entire CD, and grasping what this album offers.

Wai. Waiwai. Waipuna. On this CD, the theme of water flows. In abundance. Water is wealth; hence the Hawaiian term for wealth is “waiwai”—got plenty water. And a waipuna is a wellspring where, in Puakea Nogelmeierʻs poetic musing, “fresh water pours forth …from mist and rain to aquifer, stream and river … each one fostering life. A waipuna is a portal of that whole cycle, embodying its pulse and surge.”

Now consider how the songs are grouped using wai and waiwai:

Wai (only): “Heha Waipiʻo” (tr. 7) and “He Aloha Waiau” (tr. 8). Songs about water at places famed for water. With both songs, the connections are genealogical – moʻokūʻauhau – to the singers or to the haku mele.

Waiwai (only): “Lei Hala Pono O Kailua” (tr. 2), Na Aliʻi Puolani (tr. 3), “Maunalani” (tr. 6), “Ka Pono O Ka Hana” (tr. 9), “Hanohano No Ke Kukui” (tr. 11), “Bodysurfing” (tr. 12), “He Mele No Pēpē” (tr. 13), “Majesty” (tr. 14), “Shimanchu No Takara “ (tr. 15). In Kaleʻs words, “a song could be waiwai (wealth, treasure) without being about wai. So these songs celebrate relationships with folks dear to Waipuna over the years. For example, kumu hula and recording artist Tony Conjugacion wrote “Lei Hala Pono O Kailua” with Waipuna in mind; and “Hanohano No Ke Kukui” was written by Kale for kumu hula Ed Collier and his Halau o Nā Pua Kukui. “Majesty” features Kawika Kahiapoʻs majestic baritone/low tenor voice on Mattʻs momʻs favorite song. “Shimanchu No Takara,” learned in a post-concert karaoke session, is offered as a makana mahalo to the groupʻs Japanese fans, a hana hou afterparty to the CD. Wealth flows in more than one direction, from Waipuna as well as to them.

Wai and waiwai:  “E Hoʻi Nā Wai” (tr. 1), “Waipuna” (tr. 4), “Koʻolau Uʻi” (tr. 5), “Nā Wai Kaulana” (tr. 10). Here is the heart of the collection. How can anyone riff on water without “Na Wai Kaulana”? Yup. “Koʻolau Uʻi” – this CD debuts another treasure from beloved haku mele Rev. Dennis Kamakahi. As if that genealogical connection werenʻt enough, Waipuna ramps up the relationship of Nā Koʻolau with the Aweau family, by featuring the inimitable Nathan Aweau breaking out into some serious basswork (Bootsy Collins fans, check in!).

This brings us to “E Hoʻi Nā Wai” and “Waipuna” which, to me, are the mele that anchor the entire album. “E Hoʻi Nā Wai” is Pueo Pataʻs pule for the restoration of water and water rights. He accomplishes this through an enumeration of various manifestations of wai, delivered in a really really cool recitation that is part tongue-twister, part game, and pure genius. It is the perfect mele to open a collection of wai- and waiwai-themed mele. Thus returning us to “Waipuna”—Puakea Nogelmeierʻs gift of a mele inoa name song to the group. After 10 years of performing, and four stellar CDs, these musicians have established their roles in the cycle of mele that nurtures, revitalizes, and replenishes our spirit, just as wai gives us life, and enriches life with treasures, connections, relationships, memories–waiwai.

In our conversation this past May, Kale reflected on thematic linkages. He said “we try to focus on the flow of the music” instead of crafting a narrative. We talked a bit about the current state of the music industry, especially about the decline of CDs as project as well as product, and music fansʻ shift towards cherry-picking individual songs over time-consuming effort required to engage deeply with a narrative arc over a thoughtfully-arranged collection of songs. Be that as it may, musicians like Waipuna are still investing in crafting a collection for which the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. And of course listeners are always free to find the connections that speak to them—as I have done here with Waipunaʻs latest CD.

Waipuna – a wellspring of life and abundance. Indeed.

Mahalo, Kale, for pulling over to the side of the road to talk story. Mahalo, Waipuna, for the waiwai. 




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Take 5: Hiʻilawe

Aloha Dear Readers!  Iʻve been intensely going through over 100 commercially-released recordings of the song “Hiʻilawe.” Here are my personal picks (in no particular order):

Lito Arkangel. All 13 verses, rendered in beautiful Hawaiian pronunciation. From the CD me ke aloha (Palm Records, 2014).


Kamakele “Bulla” Kaʻiliwai. Nā Hulukūpuna (Ululoa UL-110), 2004. Bulla is joined on this track by Cody Pueo Pata and Kaiolohia Smith. They sing ALL 26 lines of the song. BUT they arrange it differently–into stanzas of 4 lines instead of 2. This required a modified tune. What I hear retains the sonic imagery of descending cascades of water.


Sudden Rush. An homage to the soundscapes of ka poʻe Hawaiʻi, from the past to the future. What Hiʻilawe playlist would be complete without Sudden Rush?


Keale.  From the CD ʻĀina Kūpuna (Rhythm & Roots Records, 2015). From a musician who ranges inventively over his entire toolbox, here is a gypsy-inflected version, complete with soulful violin solos. The rhythms are genius — Keale combines a tripe and a duple rhythm–at the same time!!


Kaimoku. From the CD The ʻUkulele Experiment (Kahuku Watermelon Productions, 2004). A sparkling ʻukulele ensemble gem. The melody is rendered instrumentally. The mele is chanted by Lopaka Igarta-De Vera. Cool.


And a forgotten vocal version by John K. Almeida and His Hawaiians on the 49th State Record Co. label. Most–but not all–of the verses are sung here.


Mahalo to Norm Markowitz who helped me get the Kaimoku and John K. Almeida tracks up on YouTube for your listening pleasure.

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Asleep at the Wheel?

Aloha, Dear Readers!

Where did 2017 go? Wow, blink, and . . . <poof> kokoke i nalowale!

I am enjoying a sabbatical leave from teaching paid in service to my department and university. I am finally getting into a writing groove. Hawaiian Songs Ancient and Modern is taking shape, now that I finally have the wherewithal to sit at home, ignoring all emails, declining requests for promotion evaluations and recommendation letters, allowing myself to be released from the obligation to attend any number of events and “networking opportunities,” and generally holding just about anything I can beyond armʻs length. (The wall oven installation carnival of errors with Loweʻs has been, in hindsight, quite a focus-buster. But life goes on . . . )

Just to let you all know, I have been updating the running bibliographies of Hawaiian music and hula on this site–point to “Bibliographies” in the menu above. I am so happy to see a growing community of scholars producing exciting new–and even award-winning–scholarship. Off the top of my head at the moment, doctoral dissertations from Jace Saplan and Andrea Low, mastersʻ theses from Guy Cundell and Eugenia Conte, books from John Troutman and J. Revell Carr (both winning major awards), a wonderful article in the latest volume of Hawaiian Journal of History (2017) titled “The Gospel Roots of “Hawaiʻi Aloha” by Ralph Thomas Kam. We are all blessed that new knowledge is moving forward and gaining momentum!

CDs — the action is on Facebook, folks. Even canʻt keep up! Simply because the distribution system has totally disintegrated, so anyone outside the Mountain Apple Co. orbit has been reduced to self-releasing and selling product at gigs. And that is presuming anyone is still purchasing CDs, because we are now all watching videos on YouTube and Facebook: ʻOiwi TVʻs series “Mele Ma Ka Lihiwai,” the long-running HI Sessions YouTube channel, the weekly “Pakele Live” now streamed live, are some of the highlights, as well as uber-fans like Norm Markowitz posting videos from various venues and events in California . . .

Note: Iʻm still buying CDs whenever I can get my hands on them, because that is the only way to get the liner notes!!

And let us all send heartfelt aloha to Aunty Wanda Certo and her ʻohana in this time of illness!

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Hawaiian Recordings in the National Jukebox: A Chronological View

The National Jukebox, presented by the Library of Congress, includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. Sony Music Entertainment, which now owns the recordings, has granted the Library of Congress a license to stream these recordings.

You can listen to the recordings on the National Jukebox site!!

Hawaiian Recordings:

I found 138 recordings by searching on the following keywords: Hawaiian, Hawaii, aloha, hula. In addition to songs well-known and well-loved by Hawaiian audiences, this list also includes two other kinds of songs:

  1. Commercial Hawaiian-themed songs generated by the songwriting industry located in New Yorkʻs “Tin Pan Alley;” songs of the sort that Hawaiian musicians and audiences alike would reject;
  2. Sogns on the B-side of recordings by national artists like John Philip Sousaʻs Band or the Victor Military Band.

In other words, this list is simply reporting the results of keyword searches.

This list orders the 138 recordings by the date of the recording session identified in the cataloging records. Itʻs actually kind of fascinating to take this kind of birdʻs-eye view of data before starting to sift through it. (Think about it: Iʻm all for questioning something like “Hu-la Hu-la Cake Walk” by Sousaʻs Band, and “Kicky-Koo, Kicky-Koo” by the Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra as not Hawaiian. But what about “Ka-lu-a” by Edna Brown & Elliott Shaw? Or “Alabama Moon” by the Hawaiian Trio? On what basis of Hawaiian song, Hawaiian artist, and Hawaiian “theme” are lines to be drawn?) Also notice: Hawaiian artists predominate until 1916, then thin out as mainland artists come in–with more Tin Pan Alley kinds of songs.


  • 1901 April 5: Sousaʻs Band. “Hu-la Hu-la Cake Walk”
  • 1904 July: Ellis Brothers Glee Club
    Ellis Bros. Glee Club Quartet. “Aloha Oe”
    with Nani Alapai. “Auhea Lau Vabine”
    with Nani Alapai. “Hilo Kupa Loke”
    William S. Ellis & Ellis Bros. Glee Club. “Hiu Hiu A Uwahi”
    William S. Ellis & Ellis Bros. Glee Club.  “Honolulu Tom Boy:
    William S. Ellis & Ellis Bros. Glee Club.  “Mai Poina Oe Iau”
    Ellis Bros. Glee Club Quartet. “Maid of Honolulu”
    William S. Ellis & Ellis Bros. Glee Club. “One, Two, Three”
    with Nani Alapai. “Pua Carnation”
    William S. Ellis & Ellis Bros. Glee Club. “Waikiki Mermaid”
  • 1911 Dec. 14: Sousaʻs Band. “Aloha Oe”
  • 1913 April 11: Hawaiian Quintette
    “Aloha Oe”
    “Mai Poina Oe Iau”
    with S. M. Kaiawe. “Mauna Kea”
    with E. K. Rose. “My Honolulu Hula Girl”
    “Tomi Tomi”
  • 1913 April 16: Hawaiian Quintette
    “Akahi Hoi”
    with Walter Kolomoku. “Hawaiian Melodies”
    with W. B. J. Aeko. “Kawiliwiliwai”
    with S. M. Kaiawe. “Kiu Home”
    with E. K. Rose. “Lei Poni Moi”
    with Benjamin Waiwaiole. “Moanalua”
  • 1913 April 18: Hawaiian Quintette
    “Hawaii Ponoi”
    “Honolulu Tom Boy”
    “Kaua I Ka Huahuai”
    with Benjamin Waiwaiole. “Kokohi”
    “Maui Girl”
    “Pua I Mohala”
    with E. K. Rose. “Sweet Lei LEhua”
    “Ua Like No A Like”
  • 1913 June 16: Arthur Pryorʻs Band. “Hawaii Ponoi”
  • 1914 July 3:  Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
    “Liaika Wai Mapuna”
    “Rain Tuahine”
    “Toots Paka Medley”
  • 1914 November 6: Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
    “Akahi Hoi”
    “Kalai o Pua”
    “Poli Pumehana”
  • 1914 December 12: Pale K. Lua. “Ua Like No A Like”
  • 1914 December 16: Pale K. Lua. “The Rosary”
  • 1914 December 16: Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili. “Hawaiian Waltz Medley”
  • 1914 December 17: Irene West Royal Hawaiians
    “Papio Huli Medley”
  • 1914 December 18: Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
    “Honolulu March”
    “Kilima Waltz”
    “Kohala March”
  • 1914 December 19:
    Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili. “Happy Heinie March”
    Irene West Royal Hawaiians. “Meleana E”
  • 1914 December 22: Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
    “Indiana March”
  • 1915 January 7 Pale K. Lua & David Kaili. “Hula Medley”
  • 1915 January 12 Pale K. Lua & David Kaili
    “Aloha Oe”
    “Cunha Medley”
    “Maid of Honolulu”
    “Old Plantation”
    “Wailana Waltz”
  • 1915 June 6 Pale K. Lua & David Kaili. “Minnehaha Waltz Medley”
  • 1915 June 11 James Reed and James Harrison: “My Hula Maid”
  • 1915 October 5: Louise and Ferera
    “Kawaihau Waltz”
    “Moe Uhane Waltz”
  • 1915 October 6: Charles Harrison: “Little Honolulu Lou”
  • 1915 October 11: Louise and Ferera. “On the Beach at Waikiki”
  • 1915 October 18: Louise and Ferera. “My Bird of Paradise”
  • 1916 January 3: Victor Military Band. “Stop, Look, and Listen”
  • 1916 February 1: Ward Barton & Frank Carroll. “Hawaiian Love Song”
  • 1916 February 29: Victor Military Band. “Hello, Hawaii”
  • 1916 March 17: Collins & Harlin. “Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula”
  • 1916 April 4: Victor Military Band. “Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula”
  • 1916 April 5: Athenian Mandolin Quartet. “Mo-Ana”
  • 1916 April 10: Orpheus Quartet with Raymond Dixon. “She Sang Aloha to Me”
  • 1916 May 18: Louise and Ferera
    “Hawaiian Hula Medley”
    “Song to Hawaii”
  • 1916 May 29: Louise and Ferera
    “Maui Aloha”
    “Pua Carnation”
    “Waikiki Mermaid Medley”
  • 1916 June 1: Nora Bayes. “Hello Hawaii How Are You”
  • 1916 June 7: Avon Comedy Four. “Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula”
  • 1916 July 13:
    Pietro, “Hello Hawaii How Are You”
    Sterling Trio. “On the South Sea Isle”
  • 1916 July 18: Louise and Ferera
    “Hawaiian Echoes Medley”
    “Ka Maia o ka Maoli”
    “Waiu Luliluli”
  • 1916 August 11: Wright and Dietrich
    “Lei Aloha”
    “On the Beach at Waikiki”
  • 1916 September 9: Wright and Dietrich
    “Isles of Aloha”
    “Pua Mohala”
  • 1916 September 16
    Wright and Dietrich. “My Honolulu Hula Girl”
    Horace Wright. “OʻBrien is tryinʻ to talk Hawaiian”
  • 1916 September: Wright and Dietrich
    “My Hawaiian Maid Medley”
    “Song to Hawaii”
  • 1916 October 9: Sterling Trio. “My Lonely Lola Lo”
  • 1916 October 12: Irving Kaufman. “My Waikiki Ukulele Girl”
  • 1916 November 27: Henry Burr and Albert Campbell. “My Hawaiian Sunshine”
  • 1916 December 7: Colllins & Harlan. “Theyʻre wearing them higher in Hawaii”
  • 1916 December 27: Victor Military Band. “So Long, Letty”
  • 1917 January 30: Peerless Quartet. “Those Hawaiian Melodies”
  • 1917 February 20: E. K. Rose
    “Aloha Oe”
    “Pua Sadinia”
  • 1917 April 20: Charles H. Hard and Elliott Shaw. “Hawaiian Butterfly”
  • 1917 June 13: Orpheus Quartet with Raymond Dixon. “My Hawaii (Youʻre Calling Me)”
  • 1919 January 30: Joseph C. Smithʻs Orchestra. “Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight”
  • 1919 July 24
    Charles H. Hart and Elliott Show. “Hawaiian Lullaby”
    Lilian Rosedale and Vivian Holt. “Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight”
  • 1920 March 8: Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini. “Wild Flower”
  • 1920 March 19: Hawaiian Trio. “Alabama Moon”
  • 1920 April 12: Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
    “Beautiful Hawaii”
    “Bright Moon Waltz”
  • 1920 May 14
    Hawaiian Trio. “Hawaiian Twilight”
    Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini. “One-Two-Three-Four”
  • 1920 November 24: Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini.
    “Hawaiian Nights”
    “Let the Rest of the World Go”
  • 1921 February 4: Henry Burr and Albert Campbell. “Underneath Hawaiian Skies”
  • 1921 March 2: All Star Trio. “Siren of a Southern Sea”
  • 1921 March 4: Paul Whiteman Orchestra. “Underneath Hawaiian Skies”
  • 1921 June 30: Charles H. Hard and Elliott Shaw. “Honolulu Honey”
  • 1921 July 15: Charles H. Hard and Elliott Shaw. “Sweet Hawaiian Girl ʻo Mine”
  • 1921 September 7: Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini. “Dream Kiss”
  • 1922 January 3: Edna Brown & Elliott Shaw. “Ka-lu-a”
  • 1922 January 27: Joseph Smithʻs Orchestra. “Lola-lo”
  • 1922 April 28: Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra. “Kicky-Koo, Kicky-Koo”
  • 1922 May 31: Paul Whiteman Orchestra. “Neath the South Sea Moon”
  • 1923 December 10: Nicholas Barbarito & Warren Patterson. “Hawaiian Melodies”
  • 1924 March 14: Frank Ferera and The Troubadours. “Hula Lou”
  • 1924 July 18: Victor Salon Orchestra. “Aloha Sunset Land”
  • 1924 November 25: Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra. “When itʻs love-time in Hawaii”


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Hawaiian recordings in the National Jukebox


The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives. Recordings in the Jukebox were issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which has granted the Library of Congress a gratis license to stream acoustical recordings.

The Jukebox includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925.

Hawaiian Recordings:

I found 138 recordings by searching on the following keywords: Hawaiian, Hawaii, aloha, hula. Mind you, this list includes commercial Tin Pan Alley songs of the sort that Hawaiian musicians and audiences alike would reject, and it the list includes songs on the B-side of recordings by national artists like John Philip Sousaʻs Band, or the Victory Military Band.

Here is a list of song titles. In future posts Iʻll sort the list by artists, and by recording dates. Spellings are as they appear on the National Jukebox.

You can listen to the recordings on the National Jukebox site!!

  1. Aiaihea, perf. Hawaiian Quintet
  2. Ainahau, perf. Irene West Royal Hawaiians
  3. Akahi Hoi, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  4. Akahi Hoi, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  5. Alabama Moon, perf. Hawaiian Trio
  6. Aloha Oe, perf. Ellis Brothers Glee Club Quartet
  7. Aloha Oe, perf. Sousaʻs Band
  8. Aloha Oe, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  9. Aloha Oe, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  10. Aloha Oe, perf. E. K. Rose
  11. Aloha Sunset Land, perf. Victor Salon Orchestra
  12. Auhea Lau Vabine, perf. Nani Alapai
  13. Beautiful Hawaii, perf. Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
  14. Bright Moon Waltz, perf. Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
  15. Cunha Medley, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  16. Dream Kiss, perf. Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
  17. Fair Hawaii, perf. Edna Brown & James Reed
  18. Halona, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  19. Happy Heinie March, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  20. Hawaii Ponoi, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  21. Hawaii Ponoi, perf. Arthur Pryorʻs Band
  22. Hawaiian Butterfly, perf. Charles H. Hart and Elliott Show
  23. Hawaiian Echoes Medley, perf. Louise and Ferera
  24. Hawaiian Hula Medley, perf. Louise and Ferera
  25. Hawaiian Love Song, perf. Ward Barton and Frank Carroll
  26. Hawaiian Lullaby, perf. Charles H. Hart and Elliott Shaw
  27. Hawaiian Melodies, perf. Walter Kolomoku
  28. Hawaiian Melodies, perf. Nicholas Barbarito & Warren Patterson
  29. Hawaiian Nights, perf. Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
  30. Hawaiian Twilight, perf. Hawaiian Trio
  31. Hawaiian Waltz Medley, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  32. Hello, Hawaii How Are You?, perf. Pietro
  33. Hello, Hawaii How Are You?, perf. Nora Bayes
  34. Hello, Hawaii, perf. Victor Military Band
  35. Hilo, perf. Irene West Royal Hawaiians
  36. Hilo Kupa Loke, perf. Nani Alapai
  37. Hiu hiu a uwahi, perf. W. S. Ellis & Ellis Brothers Glee Club
  38. Honolulu Honey, perf. Charles H. Hart and Elliott Shaw
  39. Honolulu March, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  40. Honolulu Tom Boy, perf. W. S. Ellis & Ellis Brothers Glee Club
  41. Honolulu Tom Boy, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  42. Hu-la hu-la cake walk, perf. Sousaʻs Band
  43. Hula Lou, perf. Frank Ferera, The Troubadours
  44. Hula Medley, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  45. Indiana March, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  46. Isles of Aloha, perf. Wright and Dietrich
  47. Ka-lu-a, perf. Edna Brown & Elliott Shaw
  48. Kai maia o ka mail, perf. Louise and Ferera
  49. Kale o pua, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  50. Kaman, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  51. Kamehameha, perf. Louise and Ferera
  52. Kaua i ka huahuai, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  53. Kawaihau Waltz, perf. Louise and Ferera
  54. Kawiliwiliwai, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, W. B. J. Aeko
  55. Kicky-koo, kicky-koo, perf. Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra
  56. Kilima Waltz, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  57. Ko Maka Palupalu, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  58. Kohala March, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  59. Kokohi, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, Benjamin Waiwaiole
  60. Kumukahi, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  61. Kiu home, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, S. M. Kaiawe
  62. Lanihuli, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  63. Lei Aloha, perf. Wright and Dietrich
  64. Lei Poni Moi, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, E. K. Rose
  65. Let the rest of the world go, perf. Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
  66. Liaika wai mapuna, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  67. Little Honolulu Lou, perf. Charles Harrison
  68. Lola-Lo, perf. Joseph C. Smithʻs Orchestra
  69. Mai poina oe iau, perf. W. S. Ellis & Ellis Brothers Glee Club
  70. Mai poina oe iau, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  71. Maid of Honolulu, perf. Ellis Brothers Glee Club Quartet
  72. Maid of Honolulu, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  73. Maui Aloha, perf. Louise and Ferera
  74. Maui Girl, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  75. Mauna Kea, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, S. M. Kaiawe
  76. Meleana E, perf. Irene West Royal Hawaiians
  77. Minnehaha Medley Waltz, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  78. Mo-Ana, perf. Athenian Mandolin Quartet
  79. Moanalua, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, Benjamin Waiwaiole
  80. Moe Uhane Waltz, perf. Louise and Ferera
  81. My Bird of Paradise, perf. Louise and Ferera
  82. My Hawaii (Youʻre calling me), perf. Orpheus Quartet, Raymond Dixon
  83. My Hawaiian Maid Medley, perf. Wright and Dietrich
  84. My Hawaiian Sunshine, perf. Henry Burr and Albert Campbell
  85. My Honolulu Hula Girl, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, E. K. Rose
  86. My Honolulu Hula Girl, perf. Wright and Dietrich
  87. My Hula Maid, perf. James Reed and James Harrison
  88. My Lonely Lola Lo, perf. Sterling Trio
  89. My Waikiki Ukulele Girl, perf. Irving Kaufman
  90. ʻNeath the South Sea Moon, perf. Paul Whitman Orchestra
  91. Ninipo, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  92. OʻBrien is tryinʻ to talk Hawaiian, perf. Horace Wright
  93. Old Plantation, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  94. On the beach at Waikiki, perf. Wright and Dietrich
  95. On the beach at Waikiki medley, perf. Louise and Ferera
  96. On the South Sea Isle, perf. Sterling Trio
  97. One-Two-Three-Four, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  98. One-Two-Three-Four, perf. Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
  99. One, Two, Three, perf. W. S. Ellis & Ellis Brothers Glee Club
  100. Papio Huli Medley, perf. Irene West Royal Hawaiians
  101. Poli Pumehana, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  102. Pua Carnation, perf. Nani Alapai
  103. Pua Carnation, perf. Louise and Ferera
  104. Pua i mohala, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  105. Pua Mohala, perf. Wright and Dietrich
  106. Pua Sardinia, perf. E. K. Rose
  107. Rain Tuahine, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  108. The Rosary, perf. Pale K. Lua
  109. She sang “Aloha” to me, perf. Orpheus Quartet, Raymond Dixon
  110. Siren of a Southern Sea, perf. All Star Trio
  111. So Long, Letty, perf. Victor Military Band
  112. Song to Hawaii, perf. Louise and Ferera
  113. Song to Hawaii, perf. Wright and Dietrich
  114. Stop, Look, and Listen, perf. Victor Military Band
  115. Sweet Hawaiian Girl ʻo Mine, perf. Charles H. Hart and Elliott Shaw
  116. Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight, perf. Joseph C. Smithʻs Orchestra
  117. Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight, perf. Lillian Rosedale and Vivian Holt
  118. Sweet Lei Lehua, perf. Hawaiian Quintette, E. K. Rose
  119.  Theyʻre wearing them higher in Hawaii, perf. Collins & Harlan
  120. Those Hawaiian Melodies, perf. Peerless Quartet
  121. Tomi Tomi, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  122. Toots Paka Medley, perf. Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
  123. Ua Like No A Like, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  124. Ua Like No A Like, perf. Pale K. Lua
  125. Underneath Hawaiian Skies, perf. Henry Burr and Albert Campbell
  126. Underneath Hawaiian Skies, perf. Paul Whiteman Orchestra
  127. Waialae, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  128. Waikiki Mermaid, perf. W. S. Ellis & Ellis Brothers Glee Club
  129. Waikiki Mermaid Medley, perf. Louise and Ferera
  130. Wailana, perf. Hawaiian Quintette
  131. Wailing Waltz, perf. Pale K. Lua & David K. Kaili
  132. Waiu Luliluli, perf. Louise and Ferera
  133. When itʻs Love-time in Hawaii, perf. Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra
  134. Wild Flower, perf. Frank Ferera & Anthony J. Franchini
  135. Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula, perf. Collins & Harlan
  136. Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula, perf. Victor Military Band
  137. Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula, perf. Avon Comedy Four




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Take 5: Noho Paipai

Hello Dear Readers! Iʻm working on the song “Noho Paipai.” Itʻs one of the songs in my critical edition project. The lyrics were published in 1946 in a collection of John Almeidaʻs songs, with translations by Mary Kawena Pukui. Among the earliest vocal recordings, there are at least two different tunes, and one of them in two variant forms in the first phrase. The playlist assembled here includes early vocal recordings I could find on YouTube. The datings of these recordings are based on the incredible research of  Malcolm Rockwell and his award-winning discography Hawaiian & Hawaiian Guitar Records, 1891-1860 (Mahina Piha Press 2007) .

1938:  The earliest recording I could identify is this instrumental medley of “Noho Paipai” and “ʻAʻoia” by John Almeida. It appeared on the Hawaiian Transcriptions label, and Malcolm dated the recording session to 1938. The track was reissued on the 49th State Records Strum Your Ukulele (LP-3423) in the late 1950s. Given the fact that this is an instrumental that invites instrumentalists to take the spotlight, one would be hard-pressed to use this recording as the basis for declaring what Almeidaʻs composed melody is.


ca. 1950: Johnny Almeida with Julia Nuiʻs Kamaainas on 49th State Records (HRC-64). This is NOT the earliest vocal recording; it is simply the earliest vocal recording I could find on YouTube. It was preceded by a recording by Randy Oness in 1945, and Danny Kuaana in 1946. The cool thing is, here is the composer singing his own composition.


ca. 1951: Here is John Piilani Watkins, on 49th State Records, singing a different tune. This tune was also used on recordings by Tommy Blaisdell (1952), Pauline Kekahuna (1958), and the Brothers Cazimero (1998).


1965: Genoa Keawe!! Doing her thing with the final cadence at the end of each verse.


1974: Kawai Cockett. ʻUkulele strumming at warp speed. Pay attention to the tune in the 2nd line of each verse. Compare it with John Almeidaʻs ca. 1950 recording above, and also with Genoa Keaweʻs 1965 recording. See where Iʻm going?


Bonus Tracks

Nothing beats the fun of live performance. Here is Jake Shimabukuro playing with the Makaha Sons at the Songs of Aloha concert, Hawaiʻi Theater, 2000.



Still one of my favorites: hereʻs Manaʻo Company in a 2012 live Pau Hana Fridays performance in Hawaiian Airlines premier lounge. Featured guest performer is Hawaiian Air baggage handler Kaulana Pakele.

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Recording Studios from Honolulu’s past

An absorbing piece of research!!

Aloha Got Soul

From July 7 through July 9, 2017, the Smithsonian Asian American Pacific Center will host ʻAe Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence at the former Foodland space in Ala Moana Center. The 3-day art exhibition features 50+ artists and practitioners from Hawaii and beyond. This is a markedly different project for us, and as participants we are honored to have this opportunity to find new ways of presenting Aloha Got Soul and the stories behind this music we’ve been digging over the years.

Learn more about ʻAe Kai at

We’ve entitled our ‘Ae Kai contribution “Sounds of Hawaii”, a photo series documenting recording studios that once existed in the Kaka’ako, Ward, and Ala Moana areas.

This is an ongoing project that Leimomi and I started working on after returning from Japan in late May. As a disclaimer, I must add that this project does not attempt to encompass all of the…

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E Mau Ke Ea o Ka ʻĀina

Jon Osorioʻs powerful 2010 commentary in Honolulu Civil Beat is making the rounds on social media once again. Speaking of Hawaiian conceptions of independence, Jon offers a powerful statement on ea:

Independence — ea — for us was a basic right that was enshrined by law. We may either give in to the cynicism of the age and in the face of such enormous power wielded by the United States, conclude that self-determination is a foolish delusion, or we can press Americans to live up to a better standard of behavior and perhaps, a better version of themselves. But in the end, it is more important that we Hawaiians refuse to surrender our own faith in ea.

I returned to a memorable recording to revisit one of the Kingdom of Hawaiiʻs national anthems, “He Mele Lahui Hawaii” by (then-) Princess Liliʻuokalani. Here it is again, with all three verses. The track is performed by the Rose Ensemble of St. Paul, Minnesota. Their hard work on the ʻōlelo paid off handsomely.

Click here to go to the Wikipedia page with all lyrics, translation, and a beautiful color photograph of the sheet music published in 1867.

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Take 5: Ka Ipo Lei Manu

Hello Dear Readers! I have “Ka Ipo Lei Manu” on my mind a lot these days. It is one of the songs to be included in a book project that has been many moons in the making. (Long story for another time.) Just blitzed through a marathon over the last 3 days of mapping 45 different recorded versions.

My top 5 favorites:

#5 Dennis Pavao. From the album Wale No (Pilialoha Records), 1996.

Boy, Uncle could sing! His voice was set in a lush resonant mix of guitar with ʻukulele notes sparkling atop the arrangement. This was my favorite version for a long time. It still is a go-to when I need to reconnect with things Hawaiian (like after a semester ends).

#4 Brothers Cazimero. From the album Live (Mountain Apple), 1993

Iʻm a child of the 1970s. These are the Brothers Cazimero still scaling the peaks of their career as one of the premier entertainment groups to ever grace Hawaiʻi stages. What can I say? When two voices blend so evenly and soar so effortlessly, what more need be said? [I canʻt find a video on YouTube.]

#3 Danny Carvalho, ft. Jamaica Osorio. From the album Ke Au Hou (Lava Rock Music), 2013

So much going on in this track. For starters, Danny sings! Then on this track, he and Jamaica Osorio trade off solos and duet together. The tune that they sing goes back to the original published tune from 1892–very plain, letting the mele speak. The mele — it is complete here, all thirteen verses. Then the arrangement — a cumulative entry of guitar, then bass and drum rim shots, and then bass and drum kit in full swing on the haʻina verse, then pulling back to guitar by the end. And the voices–two plaintive voices for a plaintive song about love that turned into loss.

#2 (tie)

I am a scholar of music. So I get excited when I hear original moves. This is when I know that artists are not merely replicating what theyʻve inherited, but they are bringing thoughtfulness

Jeff Peterson & Riley Lee. From the album Haleakalā (Peterson Productions), 2008

This particular recording is really cool. In hula kuʻi songs are usually symmetrical–where each line has the same even number of beats. In this arrangement, the first line is 8 beats, but the second line is 6 beats. The words still fit, even though this track is all instrumental. But the other thing that is happening is the interaction and exchange between the shakuhachi gradually adding ornamentation that is echoed in the guitar. You have to hear this track. Apparently you can do so in the free tier on Spotify. (There are YouTube videos of Jeff performing the song live, but itʻs not the same arrangement as on this particular recording with Riley Lee.)

Steven Espaniola. From the album Hoʻomaopopo (SheGo), 2013

Another really really thoughtful musicianly innovation here. The symmetrical hula rhythm got traded in for a waltz-time. But because of heavy accenting on the downbeats, thereʻs a strong feeling of the three beat sets coming in groups of two. Then sonically — Stevenʻs singing is interlaced with kumu hula Kawika Alfiche chanting the less-sung verses. Way cool.

#1 Howard Ai ft. Natalie Ai Kamauʻu. From the album Kaleihulumamo (Ginger Doggie Records), 2008

My current most favorite treatment of this poignant mele. It is wrapped between the first verse and chorus of “Aloha ʻOe. The mele begins with daughter Natalie Ai Kamauʻu trading verses with father Howard Ai. The two vocalists build up the texture by gradually extending their range higher and higher, while cumulatively expanding their vocal flourishes. The voices are propelled along with the distinctive piano stylings of Aaron Salā, who embodies a clear understanding of the pianoʻs role to support forward momentum.

And there you have it. Six arrangements that soar. They carry me off on the winds and clouds of song. What about you, Dear Readers?

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