Tuesday, February 10, 2004

John King's New CD

John King has released "Royal Hawaiian Music", featuring the compositions of King Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani, Princess Likelike, Prince Leleiohoku, Captain Henri Berger, and others. Here's an excerpt from the liner notes:

During the latter half of the Nineteenth Century, Hawaiian music was dominated by four siblings known as Na Lani Eha, the Royal Four. Through their social and political influence, David Kalakaua (1836-91), Lydia Kamakaeha Paki (Liliuokalani, 1838-1917), Miriam Likelike (1851-87), and William Pitt Leleiohoku (1854-77) helped to create and popularize a new musical idiom that synthesized traditional Hawaiian poetics with New England-style hymnody. Harvard ethnomusicologist Helen Roberts wrote that the native Hawaiians “... first obtained an idea of real melody from the hymn singing of the missionaries. In somewhat later times there ensued a period of extensive composing on the part of those Hawaiians who had superior educational advantages and were gifted, like the members of the royal family. These songs represent a period in which the foreign art, stamped with a fresh viewpoint, was being adopted by the Hawaiians, and made to assume distinctive features at their hands.” Due in part to the efforts of the Royal Four, Hawaiian music was in vogue on the Mainland and in Europe by the 1910s, despite one annexationist’s prediction that it would “... never become widely popular.”

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