Do you like Classical music? What about Hawaiian music?
In Tacoma, Washington, in 1916, people preferred Hawaiian music to Classical music “ten to one.” The popular songs included “She Sang Aloha to Me,” “Pretty Baby,” and “I Left Her on the Beach at Honolulu.”
In 1898, the American music recording industry was developing, and the U.S. annexation of Hawaii brought attention to the future Aloha State. Hawaiian music was becoming popular in the U.S. and throughout the world, and ads about Hawaiian music records appeared in American newspapers in the first quarter of the 1900s.
Recordings of these music are available online today. Check out these collections and listen to the music while browsing through the ads:
Toots Paka Hawaiian Troupe
Irene West Royal Hawaiians
Victor Records was the first out of the first big three American companies to record Hawaiian music in 1905. Here are some of their ads:
Text: "New Hawaiian records for the Victor sung by Kaai Glee Club. Honolulu Music Company."
The Hawaiian star., January 20, 1912, SECOND EDITION, Page TWO, Image 2
"There's a quaintness and charm to Hawaiian music that makes it appeal to almost everyone who hears it. And the way to hear it is on the Victrola.
"The three organizations largely responsible for the introduction and popularity of Hawaiian music in America are the famous Hawaiian Quintet of the Bird of Paradise Company, the gifted Toots Paka Troupe, and the Irene West Royal Hawaiians. It is these three organizations that bring this captivating music to you in your own home on the Victrola. ..."
The Evening Herald, June 9, 1916, Page 4, Image 4
Columbia Records was the next Hawaiian music record company in 1910, and some of its ads are shown below:
The evening herald., February 17, 1917, Page Eight, Image 8
Performers include Horace Wright and Rene Dietrich, Lua and Kaili, E.K. Rose, the Hawaiian Quintette, S.M. Kaiawe, Pale K. Lua and David Kaili, and the Irene West Royal Hawaiians.
New-York tribune., February 21, 1917, Image 5
Text: "The haunting charms of Hawaiian music.
"Hawaiian music has a fascination that grows. Listen to the strange, sobbing plaintiveness of voices, the all-but-human notes of the Hawaiian guitar and the rhythimic [sic] throbbing of the ukulele in these Columbia double-disc records and you will feel the weird enchantment of night in the South Sea Islands. Hear the latest Hawaiian records at this store. Also the latest popular son hits, as 'What Do You Make Those Eyes at Me For?' 'It's Not Your Nationality,' 'Ukalou,' etc.
"Columbia double-disc records can be played upon any disc machine. Sands-Dorsey Drug."
The Tucumcari news and Tucumcari times., March 08, 1917, Image 8
"'Beautiful Ohio' and 'Till We Meet Again' by Hawaiian Orchestra. These beautiful melodies, marvelously played in waltz time by the Kalaluki Hawaiian Orchestra, make perfect dances. Hawaiian music set in waltz time has a witchery all its own. It is a novelty that will appeal to you. 85 cents."
Monroe City Democrat (Missouri), September 26, 1919, Image 5
Hawaiian Music and Musicians