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Kika KilaHow the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music$
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John W. Troutman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627922

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627922.001.0001

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Joseph Kekuku’s Steel Guitar and the Era of Overthrow

Joseph Kekuku’s Steel Guitar and the Era of Overthrow

Chapter:
(p.43) 2 Joseph Kekuku’s Steel Guitar and the Era of Overthrow
Source:
Kika Kila
Author(s):

John W. Troutman

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627922.003.0003

This chapter examines the relationship between the genesis of the kīkā kila on the one hand, and the climate of political havoc in which it was created on the other. The chapter examines various origin stories of the instrument, then focuses on the life of Joseph Kekuku, the young man from Lā’ie, O’ahu, who is credited with first developing the steel guitar, largely at the Kamehameha School for Boys. The chapter also considers the aftermath of the Great Māhele, the royalist politics of his family in relation to the illegal overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani in 1893, and the decision by the United States to formally annex the Islands in 1898. The chapter studies the musical reaction to these events in the Islands, and contemplates the decision by so many Hawaiian dancers and musicians, including Kekuku, to leave the Islands following the overthrow.

Keywords:   Joseph Kekuku, Lā‘ie, O‘ahu, Great Māhele, Kamehameha School for Boys, Hawaiian Overthrow of 1893, U.S. Annexation of Hawai‘I, 1898, Lili’uokalani

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