Until 1912, most Hawaiian songs were written in the Hawaiian language, and they generally didn't receive much exposure outside of the islands. However, with the huge success that year of the Broadway hit Bird of Paradise, every Tin Pan Alley tunesmith was quick to write his own version of "Hawaiian" songs.
In the next few years, there were hundreds of tunes written in the hapa haole style, which combined traditional Hawaiian music with English lyrics. Others combined just a little bit of true Hawaiian with a lot of gibberish. George Little’s "Oh, How She Could Yacki Hacki Wicki Wacki Woo" is a classic example of the genre.
Interestingly, more Hawaiian records were sold in the United States in 1916 than any other type of music!
Starting in 1935, one of the greatest influences in spreading the "gospel" of Hawaiian music and its signature slack-key guitar style was the radio show Hawaii Calls. Rated the most popular program in radio history, it broadcast from Waikiki Beach for forty years and was carried by more than 750 radio stations around the world at its peak.
From the wacky songs of the 20’s to the swing of the 30’s, the rock & roll of the 50’s and the surfing tunes of the 60’s, Hawaiian music has always been a crowd pleaser. Hawaii’s own recording artists, such as Alfred Apaka, Hilo Hattie, Emma Veary, Nona Beamer, Kui Lee, Danny Kaleikini, Palani Vaughn, Harry Owens and Don Ho, were all goodwill ambassadors for Hawaii and became legends in their own time.
While the years have caused some of the actual paper sheet music to fade and become brittle with age, by reproducing the vintage images in all their original glory, we're proud to be preserving this record of classic Hawaiiana.
Lahaina Printsellers custom-prints this image on waterproof canvas in our Lahaina studio using only the finest archival inks, which are tested and guaranteed not to fade or shift under normal circumstances for over 100 years.