Classical Hawaiian Music by Emma Veary –The Music of Polynesia LPs & CD

Emma Vearyʻs LP recordings from the 1960s and early 1970s were produced by Jack de Mello on his Music of Polynesia label. DeMello had already been arranging and recording Hawaiian songs with full symphonic orchestra. Adding Emma Vearyʻs classically trained bel canto voice completed the sound of taking Hawaiian songs into the sonic world of classical music. DeMelloʻs liner notes clearly convey his esteem for Vearyʻs artistry:

[from volume 1]  Emmaʻs lyrical images are musical windows through which we see the heart and soul of our beloved Islands in the Pacific

[from volume 2] . . . She fuses notes and words into an emotional translation of the true meaning of Aloha . . . .

[and from the “Best of” LP]  Emma remains Emma. A consummate artist whatever the song.

The discography of Emma Vearyʻs recordings on the Music of Polynesia label is fairly straightforward. There were four LPs, and a culminating “Best of” LP issued by the end of the 1970s. Fast forward to the CD era, and in 1996 the Mountain Apple Company (successor to the Music of Polynesia label) released one collection of 25 tracks, all drawn from the LPs. (FYI, the Mountain Apple Company label is son Jon de Melloʻs successor to father Jack de Melloʻs Music of Polynesia label.)

The CD issued in 1996 draws on 4 LPs produced in the 1970s. How do the contents of the CD relate to the contents published on the original LPs? Here are the contents of the 1996 CD:

Mountain Apple MACD-2034, p1996

  1. The Hawaiian Wedding Song  (LP2)
  2. Kamehameha Waltz  (LP1)
  3. Waikiki  (LP2)
  4. Iʻll Weave A Lei Of Stars For You  (LP2)
  5. Here In This Enchanted Place  (LP2)
  6. The Wonderful World of Aloha  (LP2)
  7. Tutu  (LP3)
  8. Ku‘u Pua i Paoakalani  (LP3)
  9. Song of the Sea (LP1)
  10. Akahi Ho‘i  (LP1)
  11. Song for Ka‘iulani  (LP1)
  12. Nani Wale Lihu‘e  (LP3)
  13. Ku‘u Ipo I Ka He‘e Pu‘e One  (LP3)
  14. Ka Wai ‘Apo Lani  (LP3)
  15. Wai‘alae  (LP3)
  16. Pride of Waiehu  (LP3)
  17. The Queenʻs Prayer  (LP1)
  18. Ma Lana‘i Anu Ka Makani  (LP1)
  19. Moloka‘i Nui A Hina  (LP1)
  20. Liliko‘i  (LP3)
  21. Song Of Happiness (Kokoni Sachiari)  (LP2)
  22. Song of the Flower Drum  (LP2)
  23. Chamarita (Portugese Folk Song)  (LP2)
  24. Arirang (Korean Folk Song)  (LP2)
  25. Iʻll Remember You  (LP2)

The LPs

† Song from an LP appears on the “Best of” LP

* Song from an LP appears on the 1996 CD

Emma–My Heart Belongs to Hawaii (Music of Polyesia MOP 16000)

  1. My Heart Belongs to Hawaii
  2. Molokai Nui A Hina  *
  3. Mai Poina Oe Iau  
  4. Song for Kaiulani  † *
  5. Akahi Hoi  *
  6. Kamehameha Waltz  † *
  7. Ua Like No A Like
  8. Song of the Sea (Ka Huna Kai)  *
  9. Ma Lanai Anu Ka Makani  *
  10. The Queenʻs Prayer  † *

Emma Volume II–Here in this Enchanted Place Music of Polynesia MOP 18000)

  1. Here in this Enchanted Place  † *
  2. Iʻll Weave a Lei of Stars for You  *
  3. Iʻll Remember You  *
  4. The Wonderful World of Aloha  *
  5. Hawaiian Wedding Song  † *
  6. Waikiki  † *
  7. Arirang (Mountain of Happiness)  *
  8. Chamarita  *
  9. Song of Happiness (Kokoni Sachiari)  *
  10. Song of the Flower Drum  *

[from DeMelloʻs liner notes] . . . with the same mastery of interpretation she explores the many treasures within the music of our ethnic groups. As Emma paints these musical portraits you will find a depth of understanding of Hawaii you may never have realized before, for this is how Hawaii sounds . . . its warm humanity . . . its total loveliness.

Emma Volume III–This is Hawaii (Music of Polynesia MOP 21000)

  1. Tutu  *
  2. Paoakalani  † *
  3. Nani Wale Lihue  † *
  4. Kuu Ipo I Ka Hee Pue One  *
  5. Ka Wai Apo Lani  *
  6. Waialae  *
  7. Pipili Ka Ua I Ka Nahele / Ka Wai Mapuna
  8. He Inoa No Kapili Likelike †
  9. Lilikoi  *
  10. Pride of Waiehu  *

[from DeMelloʻs liner notes]: The decision to select music of this period (the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th) was prompted by my awareness that Emmaʻs gift of interpretation and her affinity for the songs of this period would add a richness and a new dimension to this important musical period of our Islands. I have called the album “This is Hawaii” . . . for Emma is Hawaii. Her richly modulated voice creates vivid musical images that exhibit her love for Hawaii, her people and her Island heritage.

Emma Volume IV: Moments of Hawaiian Musical Magic (Music of Polynesia MOP-34000, n.d.)

  1. Sands of Waikiki  †
  2. I Want to Learn to Speak Hawaiian  †
  3. Naughty Hula Eyes  †
  4. In a Canoe
  5. Only Ashes Remain
  6. This is Hawaii
  7. White Ginger Blossoms
  8. Hula Town
  9. Sweet Someone  †
  10. Show Me How to Do the Hula
  11. Itʻs Just An Old Hawaiian Custom

[from DeMelloʻs liner notes]: The musical setting for Emma, in this album, differs from our previous albums which placed Emma in a large orchestral environment. This album is more personal and is structured with the total emphasis on Emmaʻs deep understanding of the music of the period and her islands. . . .

The foundation of the orchestra is acoustic rhythm guitars of various kinds. As musical coloring devices, I used 2 vibraphones, 2 sets of orchestra bells, 2 celestes and an occasional ipu. This combination of instruments creates a highly stylized orchestral setting that remains true to the original intent of the composers, yet, produces a myriad of warm sounds that fuse with Emmaʻs vibrant voice.

[The Best of] Emma–These are a Few of My Favorite Things (Music of Polynesia MOP 5000)

  1. Here in This Enchanted Place  (LP2) *
  2. Hawaiian Wedding Song  (LP2) *
  3. Waikiki  (LP2) *
  4. Sands of Waikiki  (LP4)
  5. Naughty Hula Eyes  (LP4)
  6. Sweet Someone  (LP4)
  7. Song for Kaiulani  (LP1) *
  8. Kamehameha Waltz  (LP1) *
  9. The Queenʻs Prayer  (LP1) *
  10. Paoakalani  (LP3) *
  11. Nani Wale Lihue  (LP3) *
  12. He Inoa No Kapili Likelike  (LP3)

Some food for thought:  Tracking which songs from the LPs did not make it onto either or both the “Best of” LP and “Best of” CD is a fascinating exercise. While only 3 songs from Volume II made it onto the “Best of” LP, the entire Volume II contents made it onto the CD. And while 3 songs from Volume IV made it onto the “Best of” LP, none made it onto the CD!

Among the songs reissued on the CD, those from Volume III are worth noting. Two in particular, “Lilikoi” and “Pride of Waiehu” are songs by Liliʻuokalani that are not well known at all; in fact, Jack De Mello is the only musician/producer to have brought these songs out of the queenʻs songbook in the State Archives.

And finally, De Melloʻs comment on “Wai‘alae” (on the LP jacket) point out why Emmaʻs voice complements the scale of the orchestral arrangements:

Emmaʻs understanding of this “grand form” of music creates a perfect blend of words, music and artist. The instrumental setting for Emma is a concert band in the tradition of the Royal Hawaiian Band, for it was within this musical framework that the song was first introduced in 1902.

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3 Responses to Classical Hawaiian Music by Emma Veary –The Music of Polynesia LPs & CD

  1. JWani Goodale says:

    This is a very informative and interesting website. I love it and it’s great that the old and not-so-old beautiful Hawaiian songs have been put together in albums, which I hope are available for public purchasing.

    I would like to find out how to order the Emma CD which contains the song: “Naughty Hula Eyes”. Please let me know as soon as possible. My email is as entered below.

    MAHALO NUI LOA and hope to get a response from you soon.
    JWani Goodale

    • amykstillman says:

      Hi JWani,
      “Naughty Hula Eyes” is one of the songs that has not yet been reissued on CD. It was recorded on the LP “Emma Vol. IV” and then reissued on the LP “The Best of Emma.” But it is not available on CD. Sigh!

  2. Dr. Harry Willkinson says:

    I heard Emma sing the Hawaiian Love Song as a duet with a male singer I do not remember. I would love to buy a CD with that on it and “The children’s Song” which I also heard.

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