Lena’s Legacy Lives

Lena’s Legacy Lives

Discussing Lena Machado’s life and music, three themes emerge loud and clear. One is that she was one of the great voices in all time in Hawaiian music. Another is that she is one of the most prolific and important composers in Hawaiian music history. And the third – the one that perhaps gets lost in the shuffle between the first two – is how forward-thinking Lena was about the presentation of Hawaiian music. She…

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Still More from the Lena Machado Songbook

Still More from the Lena Machado Songbook

Following up on those popular Lena Machado compositions which she never recorded herself, here are still a few more as recorded by some once popular singers whose voices may have been forgotten by all but the most ardent fans of Hawaiian music. Click here to listen to this set of Lena Machado compositions as you continue to read. Although widely recorded as back-up singer (often unidentified and uncredited) but stepping up to the microphone as…

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More from the Lena Machado Songbook

More from the Lena Machado Songbook

Lena Machado composed songs that she never had the opportunity to record. Thankfully, Lena’s compositions are among the most recorded and performed in the history of Hawaiian music. Here are just a few of the songs Lena never got to record performed by some of Hawai`i’s most beloved artists – some of which, I suspect, you may not have heard in a very long time (if ever). Click here to listen to this set of…

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Everything Old Is Brand New (Again)…

Everything Old Is Brand New (Again)…

Continuing our look at Lena Machado’s final recordings, I have compiled this segment in such a manner that allows us to compare the 1962 versions of some of Lena’s originals with versions of the same songs from her 1930s sessions. Click here to listen to this set from Lena Machado’s final 1962 sessions as you continue to read. Lena’s 1962 version of “E Ku`u Baby Hot Cha Cha” isnothing like her first recording of the song that…

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Everything Old Is Brand New (Sort Of)…

Everything Old Is Brand New (Sort Of)…

Continuing our look at Lena Machado’s final recordings with guitarists Sonny Kamahele and Cy Ludington, steel guitarist Billy Hew Len, and the piano and vibes of arranger Benny Saks, I have compiled this segment in such a manner that allows us to compare the 1962 versions of some of Lena’s originals with versions of the same songs from her late 1940s sessions. Click here to listen to this set from Lena Machado’s final 1962 sessions…

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The Songbird Chirps One More Once

The Songbird Chirps One More Once

The 1950s had Lena making exhaustive tours of the mainland U.S. including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco,  New York (including an engagement at the Lexington Hotel’s Hawaiian Room), Miami, Atlantic City, and even the Florida Keys. In between tours she held court at a number of Waikiki hotspots such as the Niumalu Hotel (now the site of the Hilton Hawaiian Village), the Biltmore Hotel (today the Hyatt Regency), and the famed Waikiki Lau Yee Chai…

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Lena – More New Compositions

Lena – More New Compositions

Continuing our examination of Lena Machado’s 1949 recording sessions for Columbia Records with a group led by Andy Cummings and which included falsetto singer and `ukulele player Danny Kua`ana and steel guitarist Bernie Ka`ai Lewis… Lena chose five “covers” and three of her own compositions for these sessions. This time around we focus on her originals. Click here to listen to this set by Lena Machado with Andy Cummings as you continue to read. You…

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Lena In The 1940s

Lena In The 1940s

After spending most of the 1930s on the West Coast – working the clubs and hotels around Los Angeles and consulting on Hawai`i-themed Hollywood productions – Lena returned to Honolulu just before the outbreak of World War II. During the war years she committed herself to entertaining servicemen on O`ahu and the neighbor islands. She also returned to radio station KGU – where she got her start – where she hosted her own weekly radio show from…

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Lena Unveils More New Songs

Lena Unveils More New Songs

We have been exploring Lena Machado’s life in the 1930s – much of it spent in Los Angeles after a professional run in back home (with Royal Hawaiian Band leader Frank Vierra). Her time in and around Hollywood resulted in two recording sessions – the latter of which (with a group led by steel guitarist Dick McIntire) resulted in the release of ten sides, three of these compositions from Lena’s own pen, two never recorded…

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Helen Desha Beamer Gets “Da Caz” Treatment

I could choose almost any composer in the history of Hawaiian music and turn around and immediately think of a Brothers Cazimero recording of one – or more – of that composer’s songs. Not surprising given Robert and Roland’s longevity in the Hawaiian music “biz” – 40 years if we begin counting with Sunday Manoa, closer to 50 years if we count their extracurricular activity performing with their parents’ band when they were still very…

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