Hawaii Calls was a radio program that ran from 1935 through 1975 that featured live Hawaiian music conducted by Harry Owens, the composer of "Sweet Leilani". It was broadcast each week, usually from the courtyard of the Moana Hotel on Waikiki Beach but occasionally from other locations, and hosted by Webley Edwards for almost the entire run.
The first show reached the West Coast of the continental United States through shortwave radio. At its height, it was heard on over 750 stations around the world.
Hawaii Calls is credited with making many Hawaiian performers household names across the US and around the world. Among the regulars of Hawaii Call were Alfred Apaka, John Kameaaloha Almeida, Haunani Kahalewai, Nina Keali'iwahamana, Boyce Rodrigues, Lani Custino, and Pua Almeida. Other well known Hawaiian performers such as Martin Denny, Hilo Hattie, Ed Kenny, Benny Kalama, hula dancer Beverly Noa and Arthur Lyman also made appearances. The show also occasionally featured performers from other parts of the world who sang or played Hawaiian music.
Each show opened with the sounds of the pounding surf and the enthusiastic bounding voice of Webley Edwards proclaiming, "The sound of the waves on the beach at Waikiki."
During the height of the show's popularity (1950s and into the late 1960s/early 1970s) Webley Edwards served the role of producer of numerous records, released on the Capitol Records label, under the title of "Webley Edwards present Hawaii Calls." The albums contained renditions of popular Hawaiian and hapa haole songs as arranged by the "Hawaii Calls" musicians. In addition to appearing on the many "Hawaii Calls" albums, many of the stars of "Hawaii Calls" also enjoyed successful careers as solo artists
Several of the "Hawaii Calls" CD releases listed below are still in print and available from Mele.com. There are also several compact disc compilations released by Hula Records, the company that owns the rights to the "Hawaii Calls" name and the show's surviving archives. They feature also songs from some of the classic radio shows and may include Edwards' colorful commentary. These are available at www.hularecords.com.
Posted on 05/29/2015 at 09:19:00 AM