All music clips are from the self titled CD "HOOLA" pictured above.
1959 hit for the Italian-American duo Santo & Johnny, this song was the last instrumental hit of the 1950s. Almost a “steel guitar anthem”, this is always popular on our gigs. Written by Santo, John & Ann Farina.
2. Isa Lei
We play this Fijian tune (like “Aloha Oe” deemed a “farewell song”) a lot faster than the Fijians who play it as a sad dreamy ballad. Composed by Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba in 1918.
3. Yellow Bird
More a Caribbean than Hawaiian ditty, we’ve included this song for the fun harmonies and the island mood it conveys. At mix-down it became apparent that it needed something else and Tony changed his guitar part to a Beguine rhythm. It was recorded by the famous Hawaiian “Exotica” vibraphonist Arthur Lyman, becoming his signature tune. Crafted by Marilyn Keith, Alan Bergman and Norman Luboff, 1957.
4. Sleepy Lagoon
Music by Eric Coates 1926. An “English Hawaiian” song. We became aware of it from Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s incredible version recorded in the 1970s. This follows the style and format of Sneaky’s version with its tasteful use of pedals.
5. La Rosita
A tango written in 1923 by Allan Stuart and Paul Dupont (Gustave Haenschen), this is one of the fun romantic tunes we play. Lots of light and shade and a very musical mix by David Dempsey.
6. Maui Chimes
1899. The melody is based on a well-known American children’s song “My Boat is Sailing” which was re-birthed as “Maui” by the Reverend Samuel Kapu, who also gave it Hawaiian lyrics. As “Maui Nö Ka `Oi” (Maui, the Best) it is sung in the “Island Medley” by Mauians. It was soon adopted by slack key guitarists as well as the emerging steel guitarists. Today the melody is more commonly heard as an instrumental. In our arrangement the written melody is played first followed by an improvisation and then the usual tag, which you’ll recognise as “Taps”.
7. Hawaiian Wedding Song
Also known as “Ke Kali Nei Au” written by Charles E. King in about 1925 was a duet for baritone and soprano. English lyrics and a new solo mode were created when Andy Williams recorded it in 1959. Two years later Elvis Presley also recorded this as part of the soundtrack for the movie “Blue Hawaii”. Presley’s version has Hawaiian language background singers and he sings part of the Hawaiian lyrics. This song is always popular when we perform it. Charles E. King, Al Hoffman, Dick Manning.
8. Twilight Blues
We base this on a Sol Ho`o`pi`i Decca recording made 15/12/38 with a few changed turnaround chords.
9. Tiny Bubbles
1966. Signature tune of the famous crooner Don Ho written by friend Leon Pober who also put English lyrics to “Püpü a`o `Ewa” creating “Pearly Shells”. “Tiny Bubbles” wasn’t meant to be an Hawaiian song until Ho recorded it with Hawaiian lyrics.
Composed by guitarist Lani Sang as a lullaby for his daughter in 1953, we got this tune from a recording by the Royal Tahitians.
11. On The Beach at Waikiki
The song that kicked off the Hawaiian craze made its mainland debut at the popular Pan Pacific Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco, where the Hawaiian Pavilion was the most frequented of all exhibitors. Words by G.H. Stover, music by Henry Kailimai.
12. Aloha Oe
A love song written in 1878 by Queen Lili`uokalani (the last Hawaiian monarch), it became the famous Hawaiian “farewell song” played by the Royal Hawaiian Band for each arriving and departing Matson steamer. It was also used for the closing ceremony of the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles with a 1,500 strong choir. Jenny plays and sings this melody with great delicacy. The guitar plays Hawaiian “ceremonial time” throughout.