George Keoki Matsushita, Japan's most famous Hawaiian male falsetto singer for 60 years, hosts a dinner party at a traditional Japanese restaurant high atop the Shinegawa Prince Hotel in Shinegawa, Tokyo, Japan. George (far left) is joined by his wife Nobuko, his niece, Ryouko Takaya, and Harry B. Soria, Jr. The dinner was held on Sunday, October 4, 2009, immediately following Harry B.'s return from emceeing a Hawaiian music & hula concert in Kamakura, Japan. (Photo: restaurant staff)
Roy Sakuma (far left), Harry B. Soria, Jr. (emcee), Nina Keali'iwahamana, and Ho'okena members Horace Dudoit & Glenn Smith hang out back stage in Kamakura, Japan. All were there for the "Hawaiian Super Stars Concert" at the Kamakura Performing Arts Center on Sunday, October 4, 2009. Also on the bill were Marlene Sai, Danny Akaka Jr. & Friends, Gary Aiko, and Halau Hula O Hokulani. Numerous outstanding Japan hula studios were also featured. (photo: Gordon Rapozo)
Entertainment before and during the Papa 'Uniki Kukui 2009 Ho'ike for Halau Hula Ka No'eau was The Jeff Teves Trio. On this special day, Jeff (center) inserted his mother, Ethelyne Teves into the group, joining Duane "Tote" Conching on upright bass. The Ho'ike was held on Saturday, August 15, 2009 at the Foster Garden in Honolulu.
Emcee Harry B. Soria, Jr. and judges Vicky Holt Takamine, Debby Nakanelua Richards, and Kanoe Miller all enjoyed the hospitality of the Hilton Vancouver during the 3 Days of Aloha festival. The Hilton was the official hotel for the event presented by the Ke Kukui Foundation. This photo was taken from the edge of the Esther Short Park, site of the festival, looking back across the plaza and bell tower, to the Hilton Vancouver. (Photo: Harry B. Soria, Jr.)
Emcee Harry B. Soria, Jr. snapped this photo of the thousands on hand for the Hawaiian Festival in Esther Short Park on Saturday, July 25, 2009. The weather was clear and warm, and vendors provided the crowd with plenty of kalua pig, laulau, and shave ice. (Photo: Harry B. Soria, Jr.)
Esther Short Park in Vancouver, Washington was the site of the "Three Days of Aloha" events presented by the Ke Kukui Foundation. This pavillion was the site of both the Hapa Haole Hula competition on July 24th, 2009 and the Hawaiian Festival on July 25th, 2009. (Photo: Harry B. Soria, Jr.)
Here is an aerial view from the studio camera boom. PBS Hawaii President and CEO Leslie Wilcox is joined by singer Emma Veary, Hawaiian music expert Harry B. Soria Jr., and hula dancer and vocalist Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, live in studio on June 8, 2009, to present "Hawaiian Airlines Presents: NA MELE at Halekulani's House Without a Key" and "The Best NA MELE Treasures."
(Photo: PBS Hawaii)
PBS Hawaii President and CEO Leslie Wilcox is joined by singer Emma Veary, Hawaiian music expert Harry B. Soria Jr., and hula dancer and vocalist Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, live in studio on June 8, 2009, to present "Hawaiian Airlines Presents: NA MELE at Halekulani's House Without a Key" and "The Best NA MELE Treasures."
(Photo: PBS Hawaii)
[Just for fun, here is the article that John Berger wrote for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1999, when we were still at KCCN 1420 AM, to commerate the 20th Anniversary of Territorial Airwaves:]
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF TERRITORIAL SONG
By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin.
POSTED: Tuesday, June 22, 1999
HARRY B. Soria Jr. launched "Territorial Airwaves" in spite of naysayers who told him a weekly one-hour program of Hawaiian and pre-Statehood hapa-haole wouldn't last.
"There was this feeling among younger people -- young kumu hula, as a matter of fact -- who told me that this music was a reflection of a bad period of our history that should be forgotten. It was by people who forgot their language and their culture, and, yes, they were our grandparents and parents, but they were ignorant, and we're going to skip that century," Soria recalls.
"The old people loved what I was doing, and I felt I was on a mission, so I stayed with it. We kept having the legends come on and we learned more and more, and then as a few of the young lions started getting a few years and a few gray hairs, they began embracing their elders and the music they represented."
Soria, 50, and the show he created have become a tradition in island radio. He and KCCN-1420 AM celebrate the 20th Anniversary of "Territorial Airwaves" tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Soria and longtime co-host Keaumiki Akui engage in good-natured banter between interviews with entertainers from the Territorial Era. Almost anyone of any significance as a Hawaiian entertainer or songwriter prior to 1959 -- from Gabby Pahinui to Andy Cummings to R. Alex Anderson to Genoa Keawe to Randy Oness -- has joined Soria at least once on "Territorial Airwaves" since the inaugural show on June 13, 1979.
The music comes from Soria's archive of thousands of 78-rpm Hawaiian records. He traces Hawaiian music's recorded history back to the turn of the century but uses 1915 as the show's start point.
"The recordings of the first decade were on wax cylinders and the (sound) quality is really nil. One of the considerations for the show is that it has to be listenable.
Mainland America also began to embrace Hawaiian music in 1915. A hula troupe from Hawaii was a hit of the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.
"The Expo exposed 30,000 people a day to the influence of hula, ukulele, steel guitar and Hawaiian culture in general, created a Hawaiian craze that goes all the way to Tin Pan Alley (in New York City). Country music embraced the steel guitar, hula was imitated in Vaudeville and the ukulele (today) is picked up on college campuses around the nation.
"The most long-reaching thing was a huge Hawaiian craze in the recording industry that actually buoyed the industry for a while. Local entertainers were going to the mainland to record (between 1915 and 1925) but they were also touring. It was a huge phenomenon."
Hawaiian music enjoyed a resurgence of national popularity when Webley Edwards launched the radio show "Hawaii Calls" in 1935, and Bing Crosby's recording of "Sweet Leilani" won an Academy Award in 1937.
Hapa-haole music remained popular through World War II.
Just as cylinders gave way to flat discs in 1910, the 78-rpm disc was replaced by the 12-inch, 33-rpm album of the postwar era. The combination of larger size and slower speed allowed for much more playing time per side. The evolution from shellac or lacquer toward "unbreakable" records was another big step. A typical 78 disc is a fragile thing.
"If you look at them wrong they'll crack," Soria says.
The revival of interest in 33-rpm vinyl records in the past couple of years has made turntables easier to find. Soria uses a Stanton cartridge and needle and a modern high-quality turntable that has been rebelted for 78-rpm discs. His collection occupies shelves 20 feet across and 12 feet high.
Soria cleans his 78s using Windex and a tissue. He says using water "just moves things around" and that cloth can leave lint. He suggests using as little Windex as possible and avoiding the label.
In the past, he played 78s at home for his own enjoyment, but preserving them is a higher priority these days. "Unlike the newest medium that doesn't actually touch anything, a needle is aging your record every time you play it. I only play them now for the show.
"Thanks to Michael Cord, we're getting more of (the old music) on CD so I can listen to those for enjoyment.
Ironically, Soria wasn't always a fan of Territorial music.
"I grew up with it in the house. My dad would throw parties with these musicians; people like Benny Kalama would be playing on the patio. I thought it was great but as I got a little older I wanted to do rock 'n' roll and I turned my back on everything and went to college on the mainland.
A girlfriend introduced him to a group that collected 78-rpm records and considered old music "cool." When Soria returned home he asked his father, who was born in 1905, to share his memories.
"He was a living encyclopedia, and luckily, he lived to be 85 all the way to the 1990s so he was able to share all his of his collection, all of his memorabilia, his memories, his advice and personal recollections of people. He was old enough to be my grandfather, and old enough to be my mother's father, so he had one foot into an era that most fathers of kids my age didn't have. He could tell me things about the 1920s, and he was sharp as a tack."
Soria first appeared as guest on KCCN in 1976. Three years later, he was invited to do "Territorial Airwaves" on a weekly basis.
"Many people look at the death of Alfred Apaka in 1960 as the swansong of the era. We became a state in 1959, rock 'n' roll radio stations had become No. 1 in Hawaii. Hawaiian programming all but disappeared from the airwaves, which was the lifeblood of music.
"When Elvis Presley did 'Blue Hawaii,' that was like the last gasp. Statehood, Apaka's death, and rock 'n' roll signaled a down time."
Soria adds that although the Hawaiian Renaissance of the late '60s and early '70s didn't revive local interest in traditional hapa-haole music, the movement led to renewed interest in Hawaiian music in general, so Territorial music today is just as viable and credible as Western mainstream music.
"The music that I'm playing was done by people who may be 80 now, but when they did it they were 20 and they were just as hip as (the trendsetters) now."
Harry Soria's TOP 10 LIST of the most significant Hawaiian RECORDING ARTISTS, 1900 to 1959, in alphabetical order:
Alfred Apaka (1919-1960): "The Voice of Hawaii" was the classic Hawaiian baritone crooner.
Frank Ferera (1885-1951): Made hundreds of acoustic steel guitar recordings before World War I. A huge recording artist into the early 20s.
Hilo Hattie (1898-1976): The definitive hapa-haole comedienne.
Sol Ho'opi'i (1902-1953): First steel guitarist to make it big as a recording artist; also sang falsetto.
George Kainapau (1905-1992): The first successful falsetto star; recorded Broadway hits as well as Hawaiian music.
Richard Kauhi (1929-1984): The father of modern non-traditional Hawaiian music.
Genoa Keawe (1918-): Great female falsetto; has recorded for more than 50 years and in every medium from 78 to CD. Performs regularly in Waikiki.
Ray Kinney (1900-1972): First superstar vocalist from Hawaii.
Lena Machado (1903-1974): First great female vocalist; also significant as composer and arranger. Her work is still a major influence.
Harry Owens (1902-1986): Bandleader and composer; also important for his orchestrations and adaptations of traditional Hawaiian music. First musical director of "Hawaii Calls."
Harry Soria's TOP 5 LIST of the most significant COMPOSERS and/or ARRANGERS of Territorial Hawaii, 1900 to 1959:
Johnny Almeida (1897-1985): Musical Director for 49th State Records. Studio musician and prolific recording artist. A perfectionist when it came to use of Hawaiian language.
R. Alex Anderson (1894-1995): Prolific hapa-haole composer.
Charles E. King (1874-1950): Prolific Hawaiian composer.
Don McDiarmid I (1898-1977): Bandleader and orchestrator.
Johnny Noble (1892-1944): Wrote "Hula Blues." Entertainment director for the Moana and Royal Hawaiian Hotel in 1920s and '30s. Writer, arranger and talent scout.
(Photo: Ken Sakamoto - Special to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
SORIA'S SOLE TERRITORY
The "Territorial Airwaves" broadcaster marks 30 years promoting vintage Hawaiian music
By John Berger
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 12, 2009
It's "another year, another anniversary," for Harry B. Soria Jr. and "Territorial Airwaves," but this one is one of those milestones that people pay attention to: Today's broadcast celebrates his show's 30th anniversary.
"I must being doing something right," he said with a chuckle during a recent telephone interview.
Soria, aka "Harry B," is a master of understatement. The show has survived three changes in radio station call letters (from KCCN to KINE to KKNE), three changes in broadcast frequency (from 1420 AM to 105.1 FM to 940 AM), different time slots and several changes of station ownership. In 2006 it became a syndicated feature that is rebroadcast on demand via KINE and AM 940's Web sites.
Soria launched "Territorial Airwaves" in 1979 with the Honolulu Skylark as his co-host. After seven years on the air, "Territorial Boy" Keaumiki Akui took over the co-host spot. For the last decade Soria has worked solo.
The music of the territorial era (1900-1959) was not nearly as popular in 1979 as it had been worldwide during the first half of the 20th century. "Hawaii Calls" had gone off the air several years earlier, and the grass-roots music of the Hawaiian renaissance was booming alongside the English-language, "contemporary local" music of Cecilio & Kapono, Kalapana and Summer.
Things have changed since 1979, and Soria said one of the most fulfilling things for him over the past 30 years was seeing that music embraced by a new generation of island entertainers.
"I get a particular joy when a younger artist or group will take a recording they've heard me play and they will rearrange it into their own expression, but they'll bring back this long-lost song," he said. "That gives me a real joy because the song's not going to be lost -- buried in the grooves of a 78 (rpm record), for example -- never to be heard by anybody in this century.
"At times nobody wanted to even acknowledge hapa-haole music, and now you see it being embraced. Some young groups are actually putting hapa-haole songs on their CDs."
SO ARE some of the older groups. Na Leo, which always had hapa-haole elements in much of its music, has moved more towards hapa haole in recent years. The Makaha Sons released an entire album of hapa-haole songs, the Brothers Cazimero have often embraced their hapa-haole roots and Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom's first big local hit, "Haleiwa Hula," was a hapa-haole classic written by her grandmother.
Soria describes the resurgence of appreciation for hapa-haole music as a significant shift from the days when some self-appointed enforcers of cultural correctness dismissed the music as second rate. Some mocked the uniforms that were worn by the major acts of the day, while others defined the entire genre as "colonialist," and in doing so equated the work of native Hawaiian composers like Andy Cummings and Randy Oness with songs written by Tin Pan Alley songwriters who'd never been west of New Jersey.
"At various times we got kinda less respect because we represented the 'old stuff,' and everything that was happening during the (Hawaiian) Renaissance was about 'Right now. We're creating. This is our music. We're not really plugged into the past that much. We want to go forward,'" said Soria. "Now the Renaissance music is 'oldies but goodies,' too. ... A lot of it had a time stamp to it, a trendiness, and so I see that through all these twists and turns, and as the decades go by, people are actually embracing hapa haole, for example."
One factor in the enduring popularity of songs like "Waikiki," written by Cummings while he was on a mainland tour, or the compositions of R. Alex Anderson, are the songs' "timeless lyrics."
"People started recognizing the power of the lyrics," Soria said. "You can rearrange them, and you can come up with some different chords and different key, (or use) different instrumentation, but the lyrics are the basis of the songs and they still stand."
Soria credits Cox Radio staffer Robz Yamane with being the "guru" responsible for expanding the show's online presence to three on-demand programs.
"The show that airs (Friday) can be heard for three more weeks, which is nice because it allows the global audience to continue to grow," he said. "When it first happened, I wasn't so sure about all this because live radio was the expression I'd always done, and I couldn't visualize anything beyond that.
"But now I realize that we've gotten a listenership that truly is global." (Photo: Dennis Oda, special to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
Mahi & Gaye Beamer, Harry B. Soria, Jr., & Ka'upena Wong celebrate Ka'upena's induction into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame at the 2008 Induction Ceremonies of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, at Kamehameha Schools on Sunday, September 21, 2008. Harry B. Soria, Jr. emceed the historic event. Mahiai & Harry B. were both charter members of the organization, serving since its founding. (Photo: HMHF)
Hokulani DeRego chants for the kahiko portion of the program performed by her halau, "Halau Hula 'O Hokulani", at the "Japan Hula 'Oni E Hula Festival" on Tuesday, April 28, 2009, in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Harry B. Soria, Jr.)
Backstage Buddha - a peek behind Buddha reveals the huge bronze doors that open to allow warm air to escape for the comfort of the visitors touring inside the great statue. The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu) is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. With a height of 13.35 meters, it is the second largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. The statue was cast in 1252 and originally located inside a large temple hall. However, the temple buildings were washed away by a tsunami tidal wave in the end of the 15th century, and since then the Buddha stands in the open air. (Photo: Harry B. Soria, Jr.)
Harry B. Soria, Jr. assists Buddha at the famous shrine in Kamakura, Japan on Thursday, April 30, 2009. During the annual Golden Week celebration, the ancient shrine is visited by thousands of people more than normal attendance. The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu) is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple.
With a height of 13.35 meters, it is the second largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.
The statue was cast in 1252 and originally located inside a large temple hall. However, the temple buildings were washed away by a tsunami tidal wave in the end of the 15th century, and since then the Buddha stands in the open air.
(Photo: Nani DeRego)
Harry B. Soria, Jr. is shown during his backstage announcing portion of emceeing the Japan Hula 'Oni E Hula Festival, on Tuesday evening, April 28, 2009, in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. Featured performers included the Makaha Sons, Ho'okena, Halau Hula 'O Hokulani, and numerous hula studios from Japan. (Photo: George Kalima from his i-Phone)