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Hawaiian Music in MotionMariners, Missionaries, and Minstrels$
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James Revell Carr

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038600

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038600.001.0001

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“A Wild Sort of Note”

“A Wild Sort of Note”

Hawaiian Music at Sea

(p.55) Chapter 2 “A Wild Sort of Note”
Hawaiian Music in Motion

James Revell Carr

University of Illinois Press

This chapter addresses Hawaiians' roles in the multicultural environment aboard European and American sailing ships during the nineteenth century, focusing particularly on the expressive culture of American whalers. Whaling ships began regularly calling at Hawaiian ports in 1820, and over the next six decades thousands of Hawaiian men shipped out as whalemen, joining one of the most cosmopolitan workforces in the world. The chapter begins by describing the social conditions aboard American ships that enabled a variety of performing arts to flourish and encouraged intercultural bonding. It then explicates the different styles and contexts of shipboard music starting with the work song tradition known as the sea chantey (or shanty). It describes the recreational music-making activities of sailors, distinct from the work song tradition, providing accounts of Hawaiian singing and dancing aboard ships at sea and in various global ports, and the responses of Euro-American sailors to that music and dance.

Keywords:   American whalers, American ships, Hawaiians, shipboard music, sea chantey

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