Sat, 15 November 2014
During the Hawaii Calls program broadcast from the Big Island’s Volcano House on March 3, 1951, host Webley Edwards calls to the stage most unexpectedly Alfred Apaka’s wife, Edna, and Mr. and Mrs. Apaka proceed to sing a duet.
The lovely “Lei Aloha, Lei Makamae” was penned by prolific composer Charles E. King who is probably best remembered for composing “Ke Kali Nei Au” – often referred to as the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” despite that the original Hawaiian lyric has nothing to do with marriage. King wrote the original “Ke Kali Nei Au” for a Hawaiian language opera, Prince of Hawai`i, which was first performed at the Liberty Theater in Honolulu on May 4, 1925 and whose cast included Ray Kinney (of Lexington Hotel “Hawaiian Room” fame) as the titular prince. The first recording of “Ke Kali Nei Au” – written as a duet for male and female – did not take place until three years later in a 1928 session for Columbia Records and featured soprano Helen Desha Beamer and baritone Samuel Kapu – the very same Sam Kapu who was with the Hawaii Calls cast almost from its inception in 1935 through the late 1950s (including its earliest LP records). But if “Ke Kali Nei Au” was not a wedding song, “Lei Aloha, Lei Makamae” was – or, at least, was far more like a wedding song in its sentiment.
Also composed as a duet, it is thrilling to hear husband and wife sing this song (a feat that would likely not be repeated on Hawaii Calls until Ed Kenney and Bev Noa nearly two decades later). And because there are no master tapes of Hawaii Calls broadcasts from the shortwave radio era, this may be the first time this duet has been heard since its original air date more than 60 years ago.
Next time: Apaka returns to Hawaii Calls after a stint on the mainland…
Direct download: 03_Hawaii_Calls_-_1951-1952_Alfred_Apaka_Hoolohe_Hou_Edit.mp3
Category:50s/60s -- posted at: 10:17am EST