Hawaii Calls – Alfred Apaka (Part 2)

Webley Edwards refers to a listener letter… She writes that the two most popular types of music in her mainland hometown are waltzes and Hawaiian music and poses the question… Are there any Hawaiian waltzes? There are, in fact, many since that was one of the most popular time signatures among Hawaiian composers at the turn of the 20th century. Alfred Apaka agrees to oblige by singing one and – although it goes unremarked by host Edwards – sings a second waltz later in the same program. And, to round out this set, I located a third waltz from an episode during this same period. 

Apaka opens this set with “Pā`au`au Waltz.” Composed by John U. Iosepa and published by Charles E. King, the beloved song is often simply referred to as “Pā`au`au,” but this would not be wholly accurate since there is also a “Pā`au`au Hula” by the same composer and published in the same Charles E. King folio. Both the waltz and the hula by the same title were composed by Iosepa for John F. Colburn and his home which was called Pā`au`au in honor of the pond by the same name in `Ewa near where the home stood. 

Mr. Apaka then graces us with the too seldom performed “What Aloha Means,” composed by the songwriting team of Merton H. Bories and Hugh Barrett Dobbs and published in 1931. Like many popular songs of that era by such composers as Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, or Ira Gershwin, “What Aloha Means” has an opening verse that is rarely sung which begins “Come along with me, drift across the sea…” But I have never heard that verse sung. 

“Pā`au`au Waltz” and “What Aloha Means” are both from the February 17, 1951 program broadcast from the Moana Hotel. 

This set closes with a song that would become an Apaka signature – another in 3/4 time. With lyrics by Gus Kahn and music by Walter Blaufuss, “My Isle Of Golden Dreams” was composed as the theme song for the 1940 film Lake Placid Serenade, a vehicle for Czech figure skating champion Vera Hruba Ralston. (The film also featured music by Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiians.) Apaka would record the song for Decca Records later in the decade and – like “Sing Me A Song Of The Islands” before it – would also become the title of the album.   

Next time: The Apaka duet you thought you’d never hear…


Alfred Apaka on Hawaii Calls in the 1950s (Part 1)

Alfred Apaka at the Lexington Hotel's "Hawaiian Room" in NYC



Direct download: 02_Hawaii_Calls_-_1951-1952_Alfred_Apaka_Hoolohe_Hou_Edit.mp3
Category:50s and 60s -- posted at: 7:42am EDT