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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Alfred Apaka born 19 March 1919

Alfred Apaka (March 19, 1919 – January 30, 1960) was an American singer amd musician who possessed a romantic baritone voice. He was closely identified with Hawaii between the late 1940s and 1960. Alfred Apaka was arguably the foremost interpreter of Hapa haole music, which melded Hawaiian music with traditional pop music arrangements and English lyrics to convey Polynesian imagery and themes. He was of Chinese, Portuguese, and Hawaiian ancestry. His stunning baritone and good looks earned him the title of 'The Golden Voice of Hawaii.'

Born Alfred Aholo Apaka Jr in Honolulu, Hawaii. Apaka grew up on music. His father Alfred A. Apaka, his Aunt Lydia Aholo (the daughter of Queen Lilioukalani) was a talented musician in her own right, and so would his son Jeff Apaka be later on. A graduate of the Roosevelt High School, he was a talented athlete, singer emcee, and a ROTC cadet captain. The family moved to Molokai, Hawaii, when Apaka was young, and then moved to Oahu, Hawaii

The 1938 Royal Hawaiian Hotel engagement with Don Diarmid was Apaka's first professional performance, he got his first big break when he was given an opportunity by orchestra leader Don McDiarmid, to be his new lead singer for his group, 'Royal Hawaiians.' Apaka later went to New York, New York, and performed at the Hotel Lexington with
Ray McKinney and his band. Apaka played regular gigs with the Moana Serenaders at the Moana Hotel.  Apaka's band played up and down the Pacific coast of the United States 1946-1949.

Bob Hope first saw Apaka in 1952 performing at a luau at Don the Beachcomber's in Waikiki. Apaka performed on many of Hope's and Bing Crosby's TV and radio shows, as well as the Ed Sullivan Show. Joe Glaser and Jay Faggen signed on as his talent agents, and Apaka was groomed to become a mainstream crooner to compete with the likes of Bing Crosby.

Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser stepped into the picture and forever fused the name of Alfred Apaka with that of Hawaii. When Kaiser built his Hawaiian Village, he specifically created its Tapa Showroom exclusively for Alfred Apaka. It was a running gag that Kaiser so loved Apaka as his own son that he planned to buy the island of Molokai and rename it
"Apaka Island". Kaiser established Hawaiian Village Records, supposedly to record many local talents, but initially only naming the first Christmas release of an Apaka package.

Apaka was a regular on the enormously popular syndicated radio program Hawaii Calls, produced by Webley Edwards. The radio program was heard around the world and helped to propel Apaka's career worldwide. He became one of Hawaii's best-known entertainers through his Decca and ABC records and his legacy continues to inspire other performers, including his son, Jeff Apaka. Some of Apaka's many recordings are, 'Aloha Oe,' 'Sleepy Lagoon,' 'I Will Remember You,' 'Hapa Haole Hula Girl (My Honolula Hula Girl),' 'Little Brown Gal,' 'Sleepy Lagoon,' 'Hawaiian Wedding Song (ke Kali Nei Au),' 'Far Across The Sea,' 'Forever (Lei Aloha, Lei Makame),' and 'Princess Poo-Poo Ly Has Plenty Papaya.'

In 1960, Apaka was making plans for a nationally broadcast television special, but on January 30 of that year while playing handball at the YMCA, he suffered a fatal heart attack and died at the age of 40. The day of his passing became known as 'The Day Hawaii Cried.' Following his death he was given a highly publicized funeral, and he was even buried with a microphone.In 1999, an album of lost recordings recorded between 1945 and 1949 was released as, "Lost Recordings of Hawaii's Golden Voice." The album was awarded the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Award. Apaka who recorded over 6 albums, was also featured in the book, "The Golden Years Of Hawaiian Entertainment" (1974), by Tony Todaro, and the book was also dedicated to his memory.
(Info edited from Wikipedia & various sources)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Alfred Apaka - The Golden Voice Of The Islands (Capitol Records DT 1882).
Go here: