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Author Topic: John W. Troutman on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar - At The UW  (Read 772 times)

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Offline Stuart

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John W. Troutman on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar - At The UW
« on: February 10, 2016, 11:41:08 AM »
Might be of interest to some of you locals--Here's the info from the e-blurb:

"John W. Troutman on Streel Guitars In Seattle: (Re)Centering Hawaiian Technology and Indigenous Musical Practice in the Birth of the Modern Music Industry

Allen Library (ALB) Auditorium - Friday, Feb 12, 2016, 3 - 5 pm   

Since the nineteenth century, the distinct tones of kīkā kila, the Hawaiian steel guitar, have defined the island sound. Historian and steel guitarist John W. Troutman offers the instrument?s definitive history, from its discovery by a young Hawaiian royalist named Joseph Kekuku to its revolutionary influence on American and world music. During the early twentieth century, Hawaiian musicians traveled the globe, from tent shows in the Mississippi Delta, where they shaped the new sounds of country and the blues, to regal theaters and vaudeville stages in New York, Berlin, Kolkata, and beyond. In the process, Hawaiian guitarists recast the role of the guitar in modern life. But as Troutman explains, by the 1970s the instrument?s embrace and adoption overseas also worked to challenge its cultural legitimacy in the eyes of a new generation of Hawaiian musicians. As a consequence, the indigenous instrument nearly disappeared in its homeland. Using rich musical and historical sources, including interviews with musicians and their descendants, Troutman describes how this Native Hawaiian instrument transformed not only American music but the sounds of modern music throughout the world."

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: John W. Troutman on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar - At The UW
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 06:12:55 AM »
Also from John W. Troutman in 2013Steelin? the Slide Hawai?i and the Birth of the Blues Guitar  well worth downloading from the internet. Far too large a document to allow Weenie attachment.

Offline Stuart

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  • "The Voice of Almiqui"
Re: John W. Troutman on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar - At The UW
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2016, 10:54:30 PM »
Great talk and presentation. John Troutman brought his vintage National square neck and demonstrated a couple of tunes, "Moana Chimes" among them. Tom Noe drove down from Everett and brought two Knutsen wood body guitars (both over 100 years old) and a Weissenborn--all in great condition. Tom gave us a history lesson on Hawaiian guitar building in the Northwest in the early 1900s.

John's talk focused on the early period: pre- and post- the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and also on Joseph Kekuku, as well as Hawaiian music and musicians in general on the Mainland, up through the teens and twenties.  He touched on many other topics and impressed me as having done his homework and research. If his book is anything like his talk, I'm sure that we won't be disappointed.

He mentioned Charley Patton and Son House, as well as the influence of  Hawaiian musicians when they toured the South, such as in Mississippi (they even played Clarksdale, among other towns), something that Son House remembered in one of his interviews.

One thing that he stressed was that there was a lot more cross-fertilization of musical styles and techniques than are reported in the usual histories. We hear it in the music--And it ran both ways. 

He mentioned that at its height, records of Hawaiian music outsold every other genre, and that there were Hawaiian Guitar clubs (composed of players and aspiring players) with membership numbering in the tens of thousands. He talked about too many interesting things to recount here, but hopefully they'll all make it into print.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2016, 12:20:15 PM by Stuart »


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