The Bass Player Becomes The Steel Guitarist

The Bass Player Becomes The Steel Guitarist

Ho`olohe Hou continues to honor the musicians of the Hawaiian Room – the New York City venue which for nearly 30 years delivered authentic Hawaiian song and dance to exceedingly appreciative mainland audiences. Our investigation into the Lani McIntire aggregation’s tenure in the Hawaiian Room has so far led us to believe that he worked this room – in various combinations – from 1938 until 1951. And we have made tremendous use of the discographical…

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The King and Kai

The King and Kai

Lani Kai got his show business start in 1959 when he auditioned for the TV series “Adventures In Paradise.”  He had only hoped for a part as an extra but ended up a cast regular.  Lani was called upon for numerous other roles, whenever a handsome, well-built Polynesian man was needed – including the role of Carl, a beach boy in the Elvis Presley vehicle “Blue Hawaii.” But Lani Kai was much lesser known as…

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The King and Naluai

The King and Naluai

For most of his career, Elvis was backed on stage and screen by an incredibly talented vocal group he cultivated called The Jordannaires.  But when it came time to film “Blue Hawaii” in 1961, a slightly different vocal flavor was in order. Years earlier, in 1957, at Glendale Junior College in California, musical brothers Al and Clay Naluai teamed up with two other Hawaiian boys, Bernie Ching and Pat Sylva, who – like them –…

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Lena and the West Coast All-Stars

Lena and the West Coast All-Stars

The 1950s recording sessions to which Lena’s hānai daughter, Pi`olani Motta, makes reference in Songbird of Hawai`i: My Memories of Aunty Lena likely actually took place on the brink of the turn of the decade between April and May 1949. Still under contract to Columbia Records, Machado turned out eight sides not with her touring band but, rather, with the finest Hawaiian musicians in Los Angeles at the time – Hawai`i expats who came to…

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Machado and McIntire Revisited

Machado and McIntire Revisited

We recently began exploring Lena Machado’s West Coast days, her work on Hollywood soundstages, and her marathon recording session with steel guitarist Dick McIntire on September 23, 1937 which yielded a whopping ten sides. Here are a few more classic recordings from that session… Click here to listen to Lena Machado with Dick McIntire as you continue to read. “O Kalena Kai” is attributed to various different composers (depending on who you ask). And then…

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Lena Machado’s Second Life in Film

Lena Machado’s Second Life in Film

Perhaps still stinging from the situation she left behind with the Royal Hawaiian Band and its director, Frank Vierra, Lena remained on the West Coast through the late 1930s. She continued to perform at night in the hotels and clubs in and around Hollywood. But Lena’s days were occupied in a new and exciting way. In 1938 Lena was hired by her friend, Charles Clark, to chaperone his daughter, Mamo Clark, the Hawai`i-born actress who starred…

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