A Curious Craving

Hawaiiana is more dream than reality, nostalgia for a past that never was. But who can argue with a dream?

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Hula HoneysThe Hula Honeys perform hapa haole music, “a lot of jazzy stuff, a lot of funny songs. These all came from the novelty-song period, terribly clever, and very fun.” The duo has won two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (the local Grammies) in the jazz category.

Prior to this, Ginger made a living restoring antique Hawaiian furniture. She grew up in Waikiki, an “adventurous little girl who had the run of the Hawaiian Village” where her father had a photography studio. “I like old stuff,” she says.

“It’s nice if Hawai‘i isn’t just another place. It’s nice there’s all those canoe clubs. It’s nice to kanikapila [have an impromptu jam session] in the carport all day. It’s a way of being together that’s falling away. You can’t find a bank teller in a mu‘umu‘u on Friday anymore.

Hawaiiana is “like the dream of going to Paris,” she says, “or to Tuscany to have a tryst with a grape-stomper, and come away more alive.”

So rather than mock Betty Boop, perhaps we should thank Hawaiian culture for the generosity of its inspiration. It has made the world a better place.

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