This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to show that Hawaiians' musical interactions with Euro-American ships occurred frequently and in great numbers. Native Hawaiians began learning and adapting the music of the sailors and whalers, from sea chanteys to minstrel songs, from the time of Cook's arrival. These musical interactions were central to the development of syncretic Hawaiian music in the late nineteenth century, but they also contributed to the development of seamen's songs, ballads, and chanteys. Most important, this book shows that Hawaiians in the nineteenth century were extremely mobile and cosmopolitan, far from the image of primitive, isolated islanders popularized by the tourism industry. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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