Hawaii, I’m Lonesome for You!

An old forgotten tune by Albert Gumble from 1919 — linking, of all things, Hawaii and the ukulele!

Published in: on June 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The El Paso Herald unfair to ukuleles

28 November 1916: thus saith The El Paso Herald:

The Ukulele

Hawaii, following the lead of the mother country, the United States, is in the midst of a manufacturing boom with the ukulele as the chief product, an article less deadly than war munitions and less high-priced than flour and women’s boots. The popularity which Hawaiian music has achieved in this country is responsible for the making of ukuleles, on which this music may be played, or which may be used for purposes of accompaniment.

The ukulele is a guitar which never grew up. It produces a melodious groan, just as the Hawaiian steel guitar produces a musical whine. It is easy to manufacture and easy to play, which accounts, perhaps, for some of its popularity.

String in string with the ukulele goes the “Hawaiian” song, a missionary’s hymn elaborated, syncopated and generally disguised, and full many a man and girl are doing yeoman service in trying to master these songs of the islands who never sang a good old gospel hymn in their lives.

Fine business for Hawaii while it lasts. Only, if it grows and lasts much longer, there is danger that Connecticut will soon be making most of the genuine Hawaiian ukuleles, to the detriment of Honolulu.

Published in: on March 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Smithy with Uke (Sir Charles Kingsford Smith)

In an earlier post, I noted a newspaper report about Smithy (famous Australian Aviator) buying a ukulele in Hawaii to keep his co-pilot awake.

Tim Kalina has now very kindly shared a photo of Smithy holding the ukulele while sitting on the front cockpit of the “Lady Southern Cross”, a Lockheed Altair. The photograph was taken at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, in 1934.  His copilot, Gordon ‘Bill’ Taylor (later Sir Patrick Gordon Taylor), said in his book Pacific Flight that Smithy played well.

Tim’s has a large collection of photographs related to Kingsford Smith which may be viewed here: http://www.adastron.com/lockheed/lock1.htm

CKS and uke

Photograph courtesy of the T. Kalina Collection (many thanks to Tim).

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

So, why do you want to join the army?

The New York Times of 29 August 1920 told how Wilbert J. Root of Ludington, USA, answered that question intelligently and honestly — so he might go to Hawaii and see the hula hula and ukuleles in action. Apparently it was part of his professional development plan, as he was a teacher of dance, and it was cheaper if the army paid his way over. The strange thing is, the army agreed to accept him and then really did send him to Hawaii. Go figure…

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

Hideous Saxophones replace melodious ukuleles

The Schenectady Gazette of 1 December 1925 tells of the switch from ukuleles to saxophones, and of Mr Charles E King’s lament: Saxophones are making “the night hideous with their wails”.

Mr King said that the old Hawaiian songs had melody and were sung with stringed instruments, notably the ukulele, but with the rise in popularity of the saxophone, people who don’t know either music or their instruments are picking their own way through a tune — sometimes two or three together, resulting in all noise and no music.

Mr King believed that modern movies, dances and radio have killed the home-made quality music of Hawaii.

Published in: on August 21, 2010 at 6:07 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Hubert Vos’s ‘Hawaiian Troubadour’ 1898

The Hawaiian Gazette of 26 April 1898 contained the following review:

Hubert Vos [has painted] a Hawaiian of the present day dressed in red shirt and white trousers with a large handkerchief about his neck and a broad brimmed straw hat tilted back, exposing the face to full view. He is in the act of playing an ukulele and in his half parted lips there is life and suggestion. The whole painting is a strong piece of work, brimful of life and action. The hands dropped lightly over the strings of the adopted native musical instrument of these modern days, is one of the crowning features of the painting.

Hawaiian Troubadour (1898) from Wikipedia

In Hawaii, the ukulele is a musical instrument (and a nice looking koa job this one seems to be).

Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Notice to Tourists

The Hawaiian Gazette of Tuesday, 8 September 1891 ran the following advertisement:

TOURISTS INTENDING visiting the CRATER OF HALEAKALA, will do well by writing to W. F. Pague, Manager of Ukulele Hotel, situated near the summit.

Meals $1.00; Lodging $1.00; Drinks 50 cents

No Smoking Allowed

According to one site, the ‘Ukulele Hotel’ was a camp house at the 4000 foot elevation of the shield volcano. 

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 6:47 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,

It must be true, i read it in the paper…

The Lodi Sentinel published the following nonsense in May 1927:

Hawaiian Island’s Flea

Honolulu: May 23 — Those of us who live without the pale of this magic Isle have always been intrigued with the thought that Hawaii and the ukulele meant one and the same; that the islands and the uke were as Siamese twins — all for one, and one for all. Legend and history credit the creation of the music box as being strictly Hawaiian. Now comes an authority who steals from Honolulu the credit for the ukulele and passes it on to the Portuguese…

The ukulele is said to have been originated by a Portuguese who landed in Hawaii some 50 years ago. The instrument from which is was patterned was more like the regular guitar called in Portuguese the taropatch, but being rather large and unhandy to carry about, this wise inventor studied out the present size and shape of the ukulele.

After he had completed the first instrument, the inventor was at a loss for a name to fit it. While pondering over the question, a dog came along and, sitting on his haunches, raised his right hind leg and immediately began the rapid motion familiar to all of a real yellow dog scratching fleas from his body.

Just at that moment, a native sat down and began to play the instrument. The inventor quickly noticed that similarity of the movements of the arm, hand and fingers as the strings were rapidly manipulated in extracting music. This action reaches its perfection in the hands of a real Hula Hula girl.

The name ukulele flashed into the maker’s mind for that is the name of the jumping flea in PORTUGUESE.

 It’s nice get the facts from one who knows — so don’t just seat there, find someone who knows.

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hawaiian Maiden and a Ukulele

The following account from the Ashburton Guardian, 4 August 1921, highlights the advantage of doing your research before making your investments.

A curious story is being told just now of the horrible hiatus in a beach-comber’s repertory. The B.C. was in Hawaii, that land of dusky dancers. He saw a girl dancing to a most attractive air played on the ukelele, and so taken was he with it that he was convinced all the world would like it as well. So with the dusky maiden and a ukelele hied him to Broadway, New York, where on the first night after arrival he heard a gramophone give out the very tune on which he was staking his fortune. What, he asked, is that? Why, it’s the tune we’ve been jazzing to for months. Only then did he discover that the ukelele girl had caught the air from a passing liner.

But you’ve got to admit, he knew a hit when he heard one.

Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

McDuffie solves ukulele thefts

Some time around 2o March 1904, a Hawaiian newspaper reported that the ukulele and guitar shop of Jose Do Espiritos Santos was burgled. Eight young fellows, Hawaiians and Portuguese, where fired upon by a constable as they made their escape — none were harmed, but one was recognised and detective McDuffie  made his arrest the following day.  The two who were caught gave up the others. This was their second visit to the ukulele and guitar shop. In January of the same year they had liberated five ukuleles, five mandolines, and a guitar. In their latest hit, they got four ukuleles, a banjo and a guitar. Most of these were recovered from the shops that had been helping the boys unload their loot, which, apart from ukuleles and lesser stringed instruments, included bags of rice, boxes of soap, other sorted groceries and a revolver. They published the names of all who were allegedly involved.

Published in: on April 3, 2010 at 5:55 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,