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View Full Version : Did Bennie Nawahi record on the uke after 1950?



ritonmousquetaire
07-11-2017, 07:11 AM
Hello everybody,

the unissued radio transcriptions by King Bennie Nawahi that were recently made available here : https://secondround.bandcamp.com/ (and which include a fantastic version of "Ukelele Benny") made me curious about Nawahi's ukulele records.

Nawahi used the ukulele in a few 78 rpm discs, especially with his "Georgia Jumpers" group in the 1920s. Other examples include his "Queen of the South Sea Isles" (at least one version), "When the moon comes over the mountain", "I want to dream by the old mill stream"... There are not so many of them.

But what intrigues me is that while Nawahi played the ukulele for several decades, it seems that no records of his playing were done after 1949 - and almost nothing between the late 1930s (when he did these records for Keystone) and the two discs he made in 1949 (one of these is featured in the website I linked to above, look for the Marcella Wahine track).

Nawahi died in 1985, and continued to play the ukulele professionally at least until the mid 1960's, playing live in various locations in California, billed as "King of the Uke". Even though he didn't made any studio records, there could have been amateur recordings made of his playing. In the 1960s magnetophones were available to a large public. And even before that some wire records could have been made - think for instance of the early Bill Tapia records that were featured in his albums! And if he played until his death - but I have no confirmation for that -, recording him would have been very easy.

Does anybody here know wether such amateur records were made of his ukulele playing? I hope some exist somewhere; the way he played the instrument was so enjoyable and unique. It would make a great source for ukulele history.

Best regards,

Riton