Hawaiian War Chant

« Hawaiian War Chant » was composed by Johnny Noble, who borrowed the melody from Prince Leleiohaku’s 1860 song, « Kaua i ka Huahua’i » (We Two in the Spray).

The chant came to popular attention in 1939, when Tommy Dorsey’s big band covered it as a fast swing number featuring a driving beat played mostly on the tom-toms.

It was not written as a war chant, and the Hawaiian lyrics describe a clandestine meeting between two lovers, not a battle. The English title therefore has nothing to do with the song as it was originally written and performed in Hawaii.


Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaiian Serenaders

Videos on Pathé archives

More « Hawaiian War Chant »

Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra, 1942

Since Dorsey’s recording, « Hawaiian War Chant » has been interpreted in more different ways by more different artists (The Revelairs, The Ventures, Ray Charles Singers, Henry Mancini, Sonny Lester, Billy Vaughn, Sandy Nelson, 
) than just about any other exotica number, ranging from lush string-laden syrup to numerous percussion-only showcases to harpsichord filigrees to Moog bubble pops. It’s one of those instant tip-offs that you’re looking at a piece of exotica-age pop.

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Of course, Spike Jones had his own vision…


Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder!

72 years old! Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder!

Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950), known professionally as Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. Wonder is credited as a pioneer and influence to musicians across genres such as rhythm and blues, pop, soul, gospel, funk, and jazz. A virtual one-man band, his use of synthesizers and other electronic musical instruments during the 1970s reshaped the conventions of R&B. He also helped drive the genre into the album era, crafting his LPs as cohesive, consistent socially conscious statements with complex compositions.


Toots Thielemans & Stevie Wonder – Bluesette live

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