Hawaiian musicians go abroad, 1920.


The photo above is of a group of Hawaiian singers taken to America, and they are in Canada at the moment, as per what Steven Lukua Matthew told Mrs. Rebecca Lukua, his mother here in Honolulu. There are six of them, and they are all Hawaiians, and their names are: the boys, Steven Lukua Matthew, John J. Matthew, and Kahaia Pahu; and the women are Kuuleipoinaole [Ida Alicante], Ane Hila, and Kamaka Pahu.

They will be taken to many cities to sing at theaters, and other large areas where they are requested, almost covering all of the Western Continent where they are headed because of their profession, that is singing, while seeing all sorts of places, and in that first letter received by Mrs. Rebecca Lukua, published here are the main things.

They left Honolulu on the 17th of May, and arrived in San Francisco on the 25th of May, they rode the train and went to Berkley, and on the following Thursday, they left for Oakland and saw the beauty of that city, and it was there that S. Lukua, the boy that wrote the letter to his mother, went swimming at Neptune beach, and they stayed at the Claremont Hotel and it is from there that he wrote to  his mother.

This hotel is located in the mountains, according to him, it is full of haole, and they are the only Hawaiians seen there, and on the day they arrived there, they saw foreign birds flying in large flocks here and there, the land is terribly beautiful, according to him, the traveller does not lack for things to admire.

The second letter was written at the Commercial Hotel on the 18th of June. They left Berkley by train on the 2nd of June and went on the mountain route on the famous mountain of California, the Sierras; there was much snow on the mountain, and being there were stoves to warm the train, they did not feel the cold; they slept on the train that night, and on the second day they arrived at Salt Lake City, Utah, the base of the Mormons.

There is a big salt lake there; the water is salty, and it is full of salt and you can almost walk upon the lake.

On their third day of travel, they arrived at Omaha, Wyoming; there are a great many steer there, and in that state there are large corn fields of America, wheat, potato, beans, and other foods, and so too with fruit trees, and that evening, they travelled on the large river of Missouri aboard a steam train [?? kaaahi], and on the forth day, they travelled upon the largest river of America, the Mississippi, and at 11 o’clock on that day, their train arrived at the city of Chicago, and there they ate their lunch in town.

On the fifth day they arrived at their place of work. All over America are very beautiful places, the cities are beautiful, but it is no match to the Paradise of the Pacific. They arrived at their place of work, and from there he sent $10 by post office check to his mother. This boy is thoughtful.

In the letter written on the 3rd of July, from the Reeves Hotel, Ohio, it described their singing on the previous night. There were many people who went to listen to their singing, and they liked very much their singing, and it was full of blacks, and they sat there for two hours and then went off to work; that was on Monday, and on the following Tuesday, they went to Nile, a small town, and from there S. L. Matthew wrote another letter.

That place is lovely like Manoa, and there they received their pay, and he sent $10 to his mother, and he sent $10 each time they got paid. From here Matthew wrote to his mother about the great beauty of the places he saw, and according to him, he takes great care of his money, for it is his only friend in this foreign land. We have much admiration for those very thoughtful words of that boy.

In the coal mining land, named McDonald, they sang in a tent; it was very dirty, and according to him, Kakaako was better than there.

In the letter written on the 5th of July, they were in Canada and they were staying at the Arlington Hotel, and they were there for only five weeks and then returning to America. The people there are kind, according to him; he swam in Lake Erie, and there were many haole who came to see him swim, because they heard there were Hawaiian boys swimming who came with the Hawaiian singing group.

In the letter of the 10th of July was written at the New Troy Hotel explaining of their decreased staying at hotels and so too of the food, winter was not severe. They arrived at Kentucky; there are many Blacks there, and there are two types of cars there; the cars for the Blacks are separated from the cars of the whites; because Blacks are discriminated against. On the day that they arrived in Kentucky, they were told to get on the car for the Blacks; but they did not agree to this; and when the haole heard that these were Hawaiian singers, they put an end to their misunderstanding; they were toured here and there, and they saw the great tobacco factory of America and the paper factory.

In the letter written on the 21st of July, they were in Canada, and they stayed at the Arlington Hotel and from there S. L. Matthew wrote his letter. They sailed to Canada from Detroit on the ferryboat of the St. Clair River, and it too six hours. They slept in Canada that night to the next day, and they went touring of the great lakes, Lake Erie and Huron. There are many fruit groves in Canada, they being apple and oranges. There are many beautiful things to gladden the heart there.

Matthew sent his last $10 to his mother from there; the currency there is British, and it cannot be sent here; they are only paid in British money, and the American dollar is worth more than the British, because if it was forty American dollars, that is like fifty British in Canada. According to Matthew, they saw large wheat fields being harvested and threshed, and in his letter he explained that Canada was greener than America.

The Canadians are very pleasant and kind; they were invited to their homes to eat, and the Canadians do not discriminate; they are pleasant like Hawaiians; if they see you they offer their aloha. They saw the four great lakes of Canada, they drank of and bathed in those lakes, and according once again to Matthew, they nearly saw all over Canada.

They think they will be taken to London, but they are not certain; they will stay in America for six months and then perhaps go to London.

In all of the letters Matthew wrote, all of them were healthy. They were well taken care of by their leader, and were paid well; in his last letter to his mother, he explained that God took care of him, and  his mother as well, until the parent met up again with her child.

(Kuokoa, 10/29/1920, p. 7)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LVIII, Helu 44, Aoao 7. Okatoba 29, 1920.


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