The popularity of Hawaiian music – everything from faux-Hawaiian to the “real deal” – was a musical force to be reckoned with during the 1930s and 1940s. Indeed, Bing Crosby’s rendition of “Blue Hawaii” from the 1937 Paramount feature Waikiki Wedding won the Academy Award for “Best Original Song.”
Hot Hawaiian music, a distillation of Hawaiian sounds and jazz, is close to Western swing where the intermingling of musical styles is concerned. While concessions to popular taste have been made for this Soundie, it certainly provides an example of how Hawaiian music could swing!
The production files for this film have been lost so we do not know the identity of the male and female vocal trios we hear on the soundtrack. And only lead dancer Princess Aloha had been identified on screen.
As for the wonderful band, it is led by masterful Hawaiian lap guitarist Andy Iona. The guitar player who doubles on trumpet may be K.A. Theck, at least on soundtrack. (Another candidate for solo trumpet is Mannie Klein, who recorded with Iona in the late 1930s; it is not Mannie on screen, but perhaps it is his trumpet that we hear?)
Regardless, it is wonderful music, and a Soundie worth repeated viewings.