The Death of Queen Liliuokalani

Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii died November 11, 1917 — and she was quite a woman — a monarch and a composer on the ukulele (and other lesser instruments).

The event was marked on 13 November 1917 by the Evening Ledger in a most flippant way — with a poem.

For Liliuokalani

Queen Lil is dead.
Dead in Hawaii!
Low lies her head,
There in Hawaii.
Sorrowful cries
Doubtless arise
There where she lies
Dead in Hawaii.

Let tears be shed
Here in this country;
She’s just as dead
Here in this country.
Why should we not
Mourn her a lot?
Great chance we’re got
Here in this country!

Let us impound
Each ukulele!
Rob of its sound
Each ukulele.
Make the strings bust;
Rip ’em and thrust
Mute in the dust
Each ukulele!

Farewell to thee.

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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Inventor of Ukulele Is Dead

New York Tribune, Tuesday, 25 July 1922 reported the following:

Inventor of Ukulele is Dead

White Man Brought Instrument to Hawaii, it is disclosed

Honolulu, T.H. July 24 (by associated press) — Manuel Nunes, inventor of the ukulele, died at his home here of heart disease after a long illness. His death brought to light that, contrary to general belief, the ukulele was known to the Hawaiians only after the advent of the white man.

Nunes was born in Funchal, Madeira, in 1843, and came to the islands in 1878. The following year he fashioned a rude, guitar-like instrument with a cigar box and a few strings. It was from this that the ukulele of today was evolved.

What a sad bit of reporting from the NYT.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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