Thursday, November 09, 2006

still in my ears...




mark twain said "the music of the hawaiians, the most fascinating in the world, is still in my ears and haunts me sleeping and waking... this music fills me with the spirit of its woodland solitudes".

i recently picked up an early victor hawaiian records catalog (the printers code would date it at 1916). it lists about 150 songs (75 different 10" 78rpm circles of shellac) and has some incredible images of hawaiian music superstars of the mid 1910's. of course it sent me to the 78 pile to dig out some records...

pale k. lua and david kaili were part of the first generation of hawaiian slide guitarists, and and were quite prolific recording artists... there are 27 recordings listed in the catalog of just their duets; and they were also part of the irene west royal hawaiian troupe.

here's a few scratchy victor sides featuring lua and kaili. the first three don't sound much like 'the hukilau'. one can easily hear the instrument expanding out from the islands showing connections to, and the influences of, other styles of turn of the century guitar musics. (could this be the influence of technologly in the form of radio and recordings bringing other guitar sounds in to hawaiian guitar players' ears; or perhaps simply the physical spreading out of hawaiian players who travelled and recorded elsewhere).

the rosary is a beautiful melancholy solo track by pale k. lua. the playing sounds a lot like an early blues piece. happy heinie march is a duet by lua and kaili, which has a parlour guitar feeling mixed with a kind of early ragtime bounce. kohala march is also a duet and sounds a lot like a vaudeville song (and a little like spanish or portuguese guitar) - lua and kaili are really smokin' on this one. hawaiian march is played by the irene west royal hawaiian troupe, where lua and kaili are part of a barrage of guitars and ukes. the solo work sounds like ramblin' cowboy music at times. all of these records are circa 1912 - 1916.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just passing through trying to do some research on Kaili. Have some of the recordings, both Victor and Columbia. Gotta tell you, much as I hate to admit it: With the full IWRH Troupe going on the Hawaiian March, it sounds like a Philadelphia Mummer's strut song.
Now, Philadelphians (and South Jerseyans) are going to love it. It's just too bad I didn't mean it that way. Nevertheless, I enjoy Lua and Kaili.

8:37 PM  

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