Thu, 25 December 2014
Here is something you would rarely hear in that era in Hawaiian music (and rarely still today) – an a capella Christmas carol performed by a group primarily known for its way with steel guitars and `ukulele.
From a holiday-themed EP on the Hawaiian Village Records label (signifying that it was bankrolled by Hawaiian Village Hotel owner/creator Henry J. Kaiser), Alfred Apaka and his group, the Hawaiian Village Serenaders (notice the theme here?) led by Benny Kalama, offered up holiday favorites in their unmatched and unmistakable style. “Winter Wonderland” and the medley of “Mele Kalikimaka/Jingle Bells” feature Kalama’s usual arranging and the steel guitar magic of Jules Ah See. But the real stand-out here was something Apaka had not done before (and did not have the opportunity to do ever again when his life was tragically cut short): Sing a capella, allowing us to truly appreciate the voices of Apaka and the group without instrumental accompaniment. For this they chose “Hau`oli Ka Honua” – or “Joy To The World.” And it is pure joy.
I could have spun the entire EP for you to enjoy, but the real rarity here is the a capella rendering (a style I am now affectionately referring to as Apakapella). I hope you enjoy it. It is my special thanks to a special friend for allowing me to use the Facebook communities he created to share my rants and ravings about Hawai`i’s illustrious music and entertainment history with a bevy of like-minded people who care about this music as deeply as I do. So, mahalo and Mele Kalikimaka e Jeff Apaka.
If you have appreciated the last more than 100 posts about Hawaiian music history from my blog (www.hoolohehou.org) that I have reposted on Jeff Apaka’s Facebook community pages (Waikiki & Honolulu in the 50’s and 60’s and Waikiki & Honolulu in the 70’s and 80’s), I hope you will support my next endeavor in Hawaiian music edutainment to be announced here on January 5th.
As I used to say at the end of my radio show each week… This is Ho`olohe Hou. Keep listening…
~ Bill Wynne