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Hawaii Calls
woofmutt
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 2601
From: Seattilite Telstar
Posted: 2002-07-04 1:52 pm   Permalink

In George S. Kanahele's "Hawaiian Music and Musicians" I came across information about the "Hawaii Calls" radio show. As it's been mentioned here before in discussions of music and the information didn't seem to be anywhere Google could find it I summarized and transcribed for your enlightenment. The text below is taken from the book, except parenthesis. (If you're not familiar with "Hawaii Calls"...It was a weekly Hawaiian music radio show broadcast live from Hawaii, that's detailed below. The show is most known to the likes of us for the numerous albums it put out which can be found at junk shops, etc. The albums usually feature a mix of various "Hawaii Calls" regulars. Albums that are most easily found generally have that mid-century Hawaiian sound, sort of slicked up traditional. It's excellent music for the Tiki bar or backyard luau. The albums are worth picking up if your find them, or check out what's available on CD at hawaiicalls.com)


Webley Edwards got the idea for ("Hawaii Calls") while meeting in San Francisco with a group of radio executives in 1935. They had been listening to a broadcast of a group of musicians...playing what was purported to be Hawaiian music. Edwards remarked that the music was "Jazzed up" and not truly island music. When one of the group asked if Edwards could send them some genuine Hawaiian music, direct from the islands, he agreed and was offered a two-week trial period and the use of the groups' local 20 sation network.

Edwards returned to Honolulu (and) on the afternoon of Saturday July 3, 1935, under the banyan tree in the courtyard of the Moana Hotel, the first "Hawaii Calls" program was beamed to the West Coast via shortwave.

No commercials were associated with the program, Edwards had to seek financial support from other sources. Since "Hawaii Calls" was promoting Hawaii as a tourist destination, Edwards went to the Territorial Legislature for support...A bill was introduced in 1936 providing $30,000 annually for the program. When the subsidy was terminated in 1972 it (was) $115,000.

For Edwards, the object was to present live Hawaiian music performed by island musicians in an island setting. To achieve a sense of spontaneity, as he once put it, "We rehearsed to sound unrehearsed." He insisted that a certain percentage of English language or hapa haole songs be sung on the program.

A problem Edwards encountered early on was finding enough songs to sing. His solution- a search for new music- led ultimately to his amassing the world's largest collection of Hawaiian music. In 1937...He had 100 songs...In 1965 he had more than 3000. Several hit songs made their debuts on the program, among them "Lovely Hula Hands", "Beyond the Reef", and "Sweet Leilani".

Edwards...Described the purpose of "Hawaii Calls": "to give an accurate, faithful, and authentic presentation of the music of the islands." (But) Edwards and the whole "Hawaii Calls" program were criticized for not being authentic enough. Among the severest critics was (traditional Hawaiian music composer) Charles E. King who accused Edwards...Of "murdering" Hawaiian music. He protested the "pepping up" of songs that were meant to be sung in their original slower tempos. In later years "Hawaii Calls" music was often described as too slow and old fashioned.

The last years of "Hawaii Calls" were traumatic. Webley Edwards suffered a crippling heart attack in 1972. He had hoped to (continue producing the show) but already 70 years of age and unable to speak he relinquished all ties with the program. (Later that year) the Hawaii Visitors Bureau disclosed that it was ending its financial support of "Hawaii Calls". (Attempst to find other support for the show and to launch a "Hawii Calls" TV show failed). On August 16, 1975, program number 2083 was broadcast from the Cinerama Reef Hotel in Waikiki. It was the last.

At its peak in 1952 "Hawaii Calls" was broadcast on 750 stations (around the world). When the last program was given, only 9 stations plus the (Hawaiian) KCCN aired the broadcast. (Webley Edwards died in 1975.)

(The sounds of the surf heard at the beginning of "Hawaii Calls"...And on some of the "Hawaii Calls" records...originated when people wrote the show after its first broadcasts claiming they could hear the waves at Waikiki.) What they actually heard was the alternating characteristics of shortwave radio. So a microphone was placed near the water to pick up the real ocean waves, which were then blended with the soft melody of David Kelii's steel guitar.



[ This Message was edited by: woofmutt on 2002-07-04 14:01 ]

[ This Message was edited by: woofmutt on 2002-07-06 03:36 ]


 
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Cuisson
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 09, 2002
Posts: 31
From: Vancouver
Posted: 2002-07-04 8:40 pm   Permalink

Aloha Woofmutt:

Just a note that Hawaii Calls was started up again for several years and recorded and broadcast from the Hawaiian Hilton as late as 1999. Someone out there likely knows if it is still running on some airwaves.


 
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ErichTroudt
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2002
Posts: 420
From: SoCal
Posted: 2002-07-06 12:02 am   Permalink

I have no knowledge on this topic, other than I have one of the albums. It is "Webley Edwards presents "Hawaii Calls" with Al Kealoha Perry". It is on Capitol records. The cover art is very cool (which is why I bought it) with two girls holding many leis with Diamond Head in the background. If anyone wants more info about the album, you can email me at ErichTroudt@yahoo.com.

Erich


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martiki
Official Mixologist

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 3058
From: http://www.smugglerscovesf.com
Posted: 2002-07-06 1:35 pm   Permalink

I have an album, also on Capitol, called "Let's Sing With Hawaii Calls". A sing along album with lyrics in the gatefold sleeve. Has a bunch of old American tourists on the front, which is quite funny.

 
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Alnshely
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 974
From: Oceanside CA
Posted: 2002-07-07 4:16 pm   Permalink



I'm a big fan of "Webley Edward's Hawaii Calls". I have 8 HC albums and I'm always looking for more. Excellent essay Woofmutt.
Al


[ This Message was edited by: Alnshely 2007-08-02 05:13 ]


 
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Kentiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 86
From: Miami
Posted: 2002-07-08 08:24 am   Permalink

You can hear a bunch of the broadcasts at http://www.hawaiian-music.com/radio/intro.html

They play thru Realplayer. Very nice.

Kentiki


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Kailuageoff
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2002
Posts: 1504
From: Honolulu Lounge,Lewes, DE
Posted: 2002-07-08 1:28 pm   Permalink

Woofmutt,
Thanks for sharing that sweet write-up on the history of Hawaii Calls. I was fortunate enough to attend a taping of the show with my parents in the Banyan Tree Courtyard of the Moana hotel in 1969-70. I can remember my Dad explaining how he and his parents would listen to the sound of the waves on Waikiki Beach on their radio in Chicago in the 1940's. Webley Edwards gets my enthusiastic vote for membership in the tiki hall of fame.


 
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the75stingray
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 447
From: Dayton, Ohio
Posted: 2002-07-09 7:47 pm   Permalink

Good Lord, if I could ONLY find one of those albums (in good shape) at my local junk stores!!!
I have been looking!
Thanks for sharing the cover art - very cool!


 
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ErichTroudt
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2002
Posts: 420
From: SoCal
Posted: 2002-07-10 01:19 am   Permalink

Shoot me an email at Erichtroudt@yahoo.com

I've had the album a while now. I'm sure we can work something out.


Erich


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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-08-05 12:50 pm   Permalink

Does anyone know the release year for the "Exotic Instrumentals" LP from Webley???

 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1078
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2004-08-06 12:52 am   Permalink

There were at least 5 volumes of the "Favorite Instrumentals of the Islands" from Web Edwards, and the "Exotic" one with the tiki was #4. With just a skinny thread of evidence to support this, I'm guessing that one was released around 62.

-Randy


 
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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1542
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2004-08-06 9:09 pm   Permalink

Thanks Woofmutt.....here's a few more......





[ This Message was edited by: bongofury on 2004-08-06 21:12 ]


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5038
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2004-08-07 08:44 am   Permalink

Hawaii Calls is one of my favorite records. It just has a great spirit to it. It has the vintage Hawaii vibe.
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-08-09 3:29 pm   Permalink

Thanks Aquarj! Its hard to nail down because they didn't print the coyright year or anything back then on records. You were lucky if they said in the liner notes what year the recording was done. BONGOFURY- Nice collections!!!!!!!!!!
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bongofury
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1542
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2004-08-10 10:36 pm   Permalink

While visiting the In-Laws I stopped by their local music store. They had a section in the lps for Hawaiian Music. Only 3 lps they had were all Hawaii Calls that I did not have. Not sure how many were done, but I have 19 different lps.....



 
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