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The UkuleleA History$
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Jim Tranquada and John King

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835446

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835446.001.0001

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The Sound of Pa, Ko, Li

The Sound of Pa, Ko, Li

(p.20) Chapter 2 The Sound of Pa, Ko, Li
The Ukulele

Jim Tranquada

John King

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the spread of Western-style music in Hawaii. Protestant hymns—or himeni—in the New England tradition were one of the first and most lasting influences on modern Hawaiian music. Like almost all aspects of Hawaiian culture, indigenous music was dismissed by the Protestant missionaries. They described Hawaiian mele as “filthy” and “vile” songs which are associated with hula and are “connected with idolatry and licentiousness, and wholly incompatible with Christianity.” As such, the missionaries set up evening singing schools in Honolulu, Maui, Molokai, and the Big Island, where they taught Western-style singing. Despite missionary complaints about the lack of Hawaiian musical skills, Hawaiians proved apt and eager pupils.

Keywords:   Protestant hymns, himeni, Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture, Hawaiian mele, hula, Hawaiian singing schools

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