In light of the recent legislation passed here in Juneau benefiting the oil companies, and in anticipation of the return of the cruise ships to our shores, a little history about the song, Waimanalo Blues seems to be in order.
Waimanalo Blues by Liko Martin and Thor Wold, 1974
Chords & lyrics at Tropical Storm Hawaii
Performed by Henry Kapono, Izrael Kamakawiwo’ole, Cyril Pahinui, and Roland Cazimero at an old Hawaiian homestead on Oahu in 1993.
“This song was written by Thor Wold and Liko Martin in Hawaii in the 1970’s to protest the increasing development of the islands of Hawaii. Although the song focused on the Windward side, the concern was for all the islands and the rights of the Hawaiian people, as it was in that way a protest song of the folk narrative style.” – Carol Forsloff
Waimanalo Blues Wind's gonna blow so I'm gonna go Down on the road again Starting where the mountains left me I'm up where I began Where I will go the wind only knows Good times around the bend Get in my car, goin' too far Never comin' back again Tired and worn I woke up this mornin' Found that I was confused Spun right around and found I had lost The things that I couldn't lose CHORUS: The beaches they sell to build their hotels My fathers and I once knew Birds all along sunlight at dawn Singing Waimanalo blues Down on the road with mountains so old Far on the country side Birds on the wing forget in a while So I'm headed for the windward side All of your dreams Sometimes it just seems That I'm just along for the ride Some they will cry because they have pride For someone who's loved here died The beaches they sell to build their hotels My fathers and I once knew Birds all along sunlight at dawn Singing Waimanalo blues
We had the pleasure of seeing Cyril Pahinui (son of Gabby Pahinui) play when we were home in the islands last Christmas. He was so smooth on slack key, with skillful accompaniment by Jeff Au Hoy on steel and Peter Moon, Jr. on ‘ukulele and guitar. Ironically, they perform at the Kani Ka Pila Grill in the Outrigger Reef in Waikiki at, yes, one of “their hotels”. But the servers were locals and very friendly and the music was full-on Hawaii. Cyril came over in between sets to say hello and pose for a picture with a fan. A class act. If you are on O’ahu and have a free Wednesday evening, I recommend checking the calendar and going to hear them play.
Cyril Pahinui was part of another ensemble performing Waimanalo Blues, this time with Arlo Guthrie. It was for a TV show, “The Byrds of Paradise” back in 1994. Juneau Jazz & Classics is bringing Guthrie to Juneau in a few weeks. I wonder if we could get him to play it. Guthrie now owns the rights to the song.
Speaking of artists to check out when you are in Hawaii, a fellow Jambuster recently returned from visiting Hilo, on Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island) and came across another talented young ukulele artist, Brittni Paiva. He says if you scroll down the full list of her YouTube Uploads to the 30-40th of the 80+ posted, there are some useful lessons. Thanks Mark!
“We hold this truth to be self-evident — if every citizen spent a little bit of time playing the ukulele, the world would be a nicer place.” ~The Beatles Complete on Ukulele
While hunting for sources of Beatles songs for the ukulele, I came across the above mission statement from The Beatles Complete on Ukulele. These folks set forth on the admirable enterprise of recording the complete collection of Beatles songs with ukulele accompaniment. It only took them about 3 1/2 years, which is fairly awe inspiring to those of us with less ambitious, though yet to be reached goals.
But what really impressed me about this crew is that they took a mission statement (with which most every player of this lovely little instrument would agree) and put it into action. In the midst of recording the Beatles songs, they did a little “Performance Philanthropy” project called “10 ukuleles” They recruited 10 of the leading artists in NYC to each decorate a Kala ukulele, and then awarded those ukuleles to: ” The 10 Most Important People In The World”. A second set of 10 was auctioned off for charity.
Dang! I love ukulele enthusiasts. What will we think of next?
The Alaska Folk Fest is every night this week from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m., and all day Saturday and Sunday, at Centennial Hall in downtown Juneau. Performances, workshops, jams and dances will be happening both at the festival and around town. The scheduled events are available online and at Centennial Hall. Joining the lineup of festival workshops this weekend, the Jambusters crew will be leading a Beginning Ukulele workshop from 1:30-3:00 on Sunday in the Egan Room at Centennial.
One thing not on the schedule but not to be missed is the 3rd annual Liars’ & Fiddlers’ Consort happening at the Alaska State Museum on Saturday from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Open to all tellers of tall tales willing to spin a story for those in attendance. It was a hoot last year and definitely on my itinerary for this year’s folkfestivities.
Most of the usual Jambuster suspects will be attending workshops, getting ready to perform (GO SELMA!) or just sleeping in this Sunday, so there may be a small turnout for the regular Rockwell jam from 11-1. Of course, if anyone shows up the jam is on. Collette even suggested it be a true Jambuster jam, complete with all ukuleles, banjos, bagpipes, and players of saws and cowbells. Our mascot will be Bert as the One-Man-Band in Mary Poppins ( from a post by sameasiteverwas )
And if no one else shows, you can always enjoy a yummy brunch from Costa’s Diner at Rockwells and play with yourself. Happy festing, everyone!