4504I have found Mike Hanapi!
- Mar 4, 2010Hello, all ...
It's been a long 7 weeks without a computer at home and having to rely on brief
sessions on library and other public computers. But I am once again online and
can work until 3 a.m. if I wish!
I have found quite a bit of information about DB's friend, Mike Hanapi, and in
fact am listening to him sing even as I write.
More details later, but here's a teaser for you from Winnipeg in June 1918. I
have also placed the item in Files > Publications > Manitoba Free Press.
Pantages -- All five races are represented at the Pantages theatre
this week in Bert LaMont's novelty, "The World in Harmony." The
act, the nature of which was billed as a mystery, has five singers,
one white, one black, one red, one brown and one yellow. And each
of the five has a voice of surprising quality. They appear in
characteristic costumes in the act. Chief Eagle Horse himself
is the representative of the Red race. He sings in a baritone of
great volume and splendid tone. Shun Tocke Sathe, a Japanese,
with an oriental tenor of a strange quality, represents the yellow.
J. Packer-Ramsay, a negro with the rich voice that has made colored
singers popular all over the world, represents the black race.
Mike Hanapi has the little-known voice of the South Sea Islander,
a voice of peculiar tone, which is very effective. Jack LeClaire
represents the white race. Each of this strangely assorted
quintette sings separately, then in harmony. The effect of the
harmony is something difficult to describe, different from any other
quintette you have ever heard, and strangely impressive. The
blending of tones, accomplished after months of training by these
five splendidly musical singers, is perfect. Blackface Eddie Ross
and four other high class acts also are on the bill.
Note: Mike Hanapi is the Hawaiian friend who in the early 1930s gave Don
Blanding a talisman to guide his life: "Lord, I Do Give Thee Thanks For The
Abundance That Is Mine." DB had the initials for the sentence carved on the
fireplace mantel at his home in Carmel, California.
Hanapi possessed a fine tenor voice and sang in a powerful Hawaiian
falsetto that will take your breath away. In 1926, he formed the
Hanapi Trio, an instrumental group in which he played acoustic steel
guitar. With the addition of tenor and ukulele player William Kalama, the
group became Kalama's Quartet, performing and recording mostly vocal
selections; later a second steel guitar made it a quintet but the name
remained unchanged. A CD compilation released in 1993 of recordings made
between 1927 and 1932 is still available on the secondary market.
Mike Hanapi returned to Honolulu in 1938, and to his first instrument, the
saxophone. He opened a music shop, taught saxophone and, in 1940, joined the
Royal Hawaiian Band as a saxophonist until his death in 1959.
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