Thursday, January 08, 2009

Early Dutch Hawaiian Jazz in the 1920s

Early Dutch Hawaiian Jazz in the 1920s (English) De eerste Hawaii-muziek in Nederland in de jaren twintig. (Nederlands)
De bovenstaande jongelieden vormen tezamen een Hawaiian kwartet, dat ons op den uitzendavond van a.s. Dinsdag een aantal dier zoetvloeiende melancholische wijzen zal laten hooren die hun oorsprong heeten te hebben op zwoelwarme eilanden van den Honolulu-Archipel. ( = The boys above, belong to a Hawaiian Quartet, that will bring us next Tuesday during a radio broadcast a few sweet melancholy tunes, that has its sources on sultry-hot islands of the Honolulu Archipelago. ) Fragment from the Radio Luistergids first of May, 1925 about the Dutch Hawaiian Kwartet.
Early Dutch Hawaiian Jazz in the 1920s
Hans Koert

A few months ago, Jo sent me a compilation, most in the Hawaiian style, with early ukulele tunes, he had downloaded from the internet. The compilation had a cover picture of the sheet music of the song Ukulele Lady. This song was composed by Gus Kahn and the words were made by Richard Whiting in 1925.
It's a tune, easy on the ear, easy to play and to sing. Mind, that another tune, Ukulele Baby was composed by Meskil - Rose - Bloom and Sherman and is a complete different song, although popular in the same period as Ukulele Lady. I have the Abe Lyman version of May 1925. In those days Hawaiian music became rather popular in the States, although the real hype was in the 1930s up to the 1950s. Hawaii was a colony of the US since the late 1800s and Hawaiian Hula girls and musicians visited with vaudeville groups the States and brought their hawaiian rhythms and instruments, like the Hawaiian guitar and the ukulele to the States.
The ukulele became a handy-sized instrument in dance bands, vaudeville acts and string bands. Also the sunny, warm, tropical climate - the beaches, palm trees and not to forget, the girls ..... were great subjects to sing about. It is said that Hawaiian music became a very popular subject to sing and dream about, in periods like the Great Depression and during the Second World War.
Enjoy one of the earliest recorded versions of the song:

Ukulele Lady by Vaughn DeLeath ( 6th of April 1925) (Columbia)
This tune became very popular and was recorded a dozen times in the first half of 1925 for most record labels. You can find here a
(selected) discography of 1925 Ukulele Lady recordings in my collection.
The first European recording date for this Ukulele Lady, as far as I know, is from Londen, the 14th of December, 1925 ( for Columbia (France)) by Jean Wiener and Clement Doucet, two piano players. Jazz and Hawaiian music have a lot common elements and they fecundated each other. In the mid 1930s Louis Armstrong recorded some Hawaiian songs and Sol Hoopii brought jazz elements to Hawaii. And who doesn't remember the Laurel and Hardy film Sons of the Desert with a great fragment of the comic duo singing Honolulu Baby or what about this more contemporary Muppets version?

I wondered how Hawaiian music became popular in our country, The Netherlands. I found, several years ago, a great book titled Haring & Hawaii - subtitled Hawaiianmuziek in Nederland (1925-1992) by Lutgard Mutsaers (1992) and the subtitle suggests that it all started in 1925 too, the year Ukulele Lady was a hit in the States.
The Hawaiian band Insulinde (February 1925)
Early 1925 the Hawaiian band Insulinde directed by mr. Von Lutzow performed for the HDO ( The Hilversumsche Draadlooze Omroep). For the very first time a Dutch Hawaii orchestra played for the radio. All eight members of the band were inhabitants of the Dutch East Indies, a Dutch colony in those days, also known as Insulinde. They used the typically Hawaiian instruments and on a picture from February 1925 you can see that they used several string instruments, including the hawaian guitar and a ukulele. A few months later, on the 5th of May 1925 the first complete Dutch Hawaiian band was on the air too, the Hawaiian Kwartet directed by Chris De Vos jr. They used, according to an old photo (see top of the article) a banjo and some guitars. Two years later the Kwartet had developed into a Kwintet, het Hawaiian Radio Vijftal which included now a Hawaiian guitar and a ukulele too.
Hawaiian Radio Vijftal ( September 1927)
The Hawaiian music became real popular in The Netherlands during the 1930s, and a lot of Hawaiians bands were founded, like the Ancori's, although other music styles, like South American tangos and rhumbas or Hungarian czardas became popular music styles too. In 1934 the Kilima Hawaiians were founded by Bill Buysman, member of the Ancori's. This band would develop into one of the most popular Hawaii bands of The Netherlands. This band, which contained only Dutch musicians, can be labeled as a successor to the first white band: The Dutch Hawaiian Kwartet. I found a fragment from 1989 by these Kilima Hawaiians I love to share with you:

The Dutch Indonesian Hawaiian Ensemble Rudi Wairata & The Mena Moeria Minstrels played in the tradition of the Insulinde quartet. They became famous in the 1950s and played songs from Ambon as the Amboine Serenaders. Love to finish this small tribute to early Dutch Hawaiian music with a tune from 1954, titled Kaiwahu March by the Mena Moeria Minstrels.

If you like, I'll tell you later more about these post war Dutch Hawaiian bands - Let me know!!
Hans Koert -

A (selected) discography with the 1925 Ukulele Lady recordings in my collection:
ukulele lady
6th of April 1925: vaughn de leath ( for Columbia)
May 1925: margareth young and phil ohman ( for Brunswick)
1st of June 1925: denza dance band ( = harry reser's syncopators) ( for columbia )
2nd of June 1925: paul whiteman orchestra with the southern fall colored quartet ( for Victor)
23rd of June 1925: eddie peabody and anthony field ( for Dominion)
10th of July 1925: the vagabonds ( for Gennett)
Keep swinging

Hans Koert

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Blogger Jo said...

Thanks a lot, Hans, for this very enjoyable and informing article about Dutch early Hawaiian influenced bands. I didn't know that the Hawaiian hype had followers and even pioneers in The Netherlands, I'm already looking much forward to the continueing of the story. - Further, great illustrations, photoes and inserted videos included. Thanks again!


11:10 PM  
Blogger Shelley Rickey said...

Hi Hans,
I must admit that i haven't visited your blog in a while and now i see that you have all kinds of ukulele things here! Fantastic!

I have a new blog that you may be interested in as well:

Thanks so much for the great posts!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Shelley Rickey said...

I would love to know more about the history of the Ukulele in Nederland!

11:55 AM  
Blogger Karel said...

Thank you very much! Very-very interesting :)

4:40 AM  

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