Thu, 30 October 2014
Aunty Genoa ushered in the 90s with a most unusual recording that represents the happy collision of all of the previous eras in her career. The 1940s are represented by her reunion with steel guitarist Henry Kaalekahi (who recorded with her on any number of her 49th State Records singles), her longtime collaborator Violet Pahu Liliko`i on guitar, and the addition to her regular working group of her niece, Momi Kahawaiola`a (who also first recorded for 49th State – her first record being the first ever recording of the hapa-haole classic “Hukilau”). The 1970s are represented by her return to the studios of Commercial Recording in Kaka`ako, as well as by her sons, Gary and Sam Aiko, who performed with their mother at the Aloha Grill throughout that decade. And the 1960s are represented by… A completely different group altogether? The Paradise Serenaders were a popular vocal group of the 1960s with two full-length LPs under their belts. And here group founder Lawaina Mokulehua handles the piano chores for Aunty Genoa while the voice of the Paradise Serenaders, Billy Gonsalves, manages yet another rhythm guitar. There are no other events on record of Aunty Genoa performing with Aunty Lawaina and Uncle Billy – making this yet another rare delight in the Genoa Keawe catalog.
While Aunty Genoa allows sons Sam and Gary to take the vocal lead on six of the twelve selections on the album, this set is focused – as it should be this week – on her performances. We first hear Aunty Genoa on Clarence Kinney’s composition about a crazy car ride rife with double-entendre, “Holoholo Ka`a” (taken at perhaps the most relaxed tempo the tune has ever been taken on record). We then hear her tackle a relatively new composition at the time, the still seldom performed “Pauoa Hula” from the pen of Kaipo Hale. And the set closes with Aunty Genoa reprising a hula standard from her Party Hulas days, “Hula O Makee.”
I am so pleased to report that Hula – Volume One is still available for purchase – digitally remastered and re-released on CD courtesy of GK Records where Aunty Genoa’s legacy is lovingly preserved and perpetuated by her son, Eric, and granddaughter, Pomaika`i Keawe Lyman. It is among my favorite Genoa Keawe recordings, and I hope the sampler I offered here – despite that you are listening to low-resolution MP3s made from my original cassette copy – entices you to run out and pick up a copy of this classic of Hawaiian music. In fact, you don’t have to run out. You may be able to find it from the comfort of your easy chair and have it delivered right to your door…
The mystery that lingers, of course, is… What ever happened to Hula – Volume Two?
Next time: Aunty Genoa enters the 1990s by capitalizing (in the best possible way) on the latest craze of the era…