This morning I read a fascinating post on the “Hawaii Insider” blog at SFGate, the online home of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Memorable Mele: Your favorite Hawaiian music, part 1” It reminded me of early posts on this blog, when I was intrigued by the question of what Hawaiian music CDs I would recommend as a “Top Ten for Newbies.” First I wondered out loud about HOW to negotiate the selection process: see Top Ten Hawaiian Music Albums for Newbies PART I and Top Ten Hawaiian Music Albums for Newbies PART II). Then I added two more specific posts: “Choosing Compilation CDs of Hawaiian Music” and “How to Choose Hawaiian Music Anthology CDs,” Finally, I posted “My 2009 Top Ten CDs for Newbies” on Christmas Day last year.
What made me think back on these posts is recalling that “My 2009 Top Ten …” was a way of wrapping up the 2009 year. And here I sit, starting to reflect on wrapping up 2010. What would I recommend as “My 2010 Top Ten CDs”? Would the list change? Would the list remain the same? Is the idea of drawing up a list of CDs still viable, as opposed to drawing up playlists of favorite songs instead? Of course Puna at “mele.com” a.k.a. Hawaiian Music Island (http://www.mele.com) would shout out a resounding YES. For indeed, the CD package remains an important point of entry into Hawaiian music for newbies.
The SFGate post on “Memorable Mele” prompts me to think that with prevalence of downloading now, we should be tuning in to the concept of the PLAYLIST as a topic of discussion Playlists allow much more flexibility for pointing to specific tracks. This allows more specific focus on performers, instruments, periods, locations, themes . . . oh, the possibilities are endless indeed!
Now if we were to start down the playlist route, we have an excellent model already out there. Harry B. Soria, Jr. is renowned for many things. As a master emcee, Harry B. pops up all over the world now–in Hawai‘i, in Japan, on the mainland. Wherever there‘s Hawaiian music, Harry B. is a major presence as an emcee. More importantly, he is the founder and host of the weekly radio show “Territorial Airwaves,” launched as a regular show on June 13, 1979, presenting Hawaiian produced music during Hawai‘iʻs territorial era, 1900-1959. The showʻs archives is an encyclopedia of performers, songs, themes, events . . . Broadcast weekly, current shows are available on demand on hawaiian105.com, and on am940hawaii.com–both homepages take you to the Territorial Airwaves broadcast page, where the playlists are also published for listeners to follow along. Better yet, you can subscribe It gets better: Harry B. maintains an independent website for Territorial Airwaves: Your Source for the History of Hawaiian Music, where he has posted all kinds of wonderful content, especially Tributes to beloved entertainers, and a gallery of photographs. Make sure you click on “Territorial Newsletter” and sign up to receive Harry B.ʻs weekly email BECAUSE–he distributes the playlist for the upcoming show!!! My own personal archive of the newsletter and its playlists stretches back to May 8, 2007. What a gift!!