Saturday, February 23, 2013

John Zane in Shanghai

The Hawaiian Steel Guitar and Its Great Hawaiian Musicians: Origin of the Steel Guitar
Lorene Ruymar
Centerstream Publications, 1996

page 39: Another steel guitarist who once lived in Shanghai (now Waimea, Hawai’i) Ernest Kurlansky, reported,

“In 1927 a friend of mine came to Shanghai from Honolulu, a cartoonist named Johnny Zane. He operated a Hawaiian Music Studio there, teaching Hawaiian guitar, Spanish guitar, and ukulele. During 1935–37 there were a lot of Chinese boys from Hawai’i from well-to-do parents who were attending American Missionary Colleges in Shanghai at St. John’s University, Ling Nam in Peking. They studied medicine and law, etc. I met most of them through Johnny. They were all evacuated during the Sino-Japanese was together with all other U.S. citizens in August of 1937 on the Dollar Line passenger ship President Hoover, which incidentally was bombed by the Japanese military during its departure from Shanghai.

“Ernest Kawohioalani (Prince Kawohi), Ernest (Bobby) Ka’ai Jr., Billy Lee, Joe Kanapu’u, and Sonny Lewis were all musicians in Shanghai. Ernest KAwohi as he was known then came to Shanghai with Walter Downing, the father of famed beach boy Surfer Downing of Waikiki. Ernest Kawohi played a pancake Rickenbacker with Billy Lee and Joe Kanapu’u at St. George’s Night Club. Bobby Ka’ai was the band leader at the Del Monte Night Club. All were evacuated from Shanghai in August of 1937 during the second Sino Japanese War.”

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(Next post March 1: Keye Luke in the Tolo 1922)

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