NATIVE HAWAIIAN PRIMA DONNA SOPRANO NANI ALAPAI BORN
Julita Nani Malina was born in Līhuʻe, on the island of Kauaʻi. Her mother was Native Hawaiian; her father, Filipino. Nani was educated at a boarding school for girls in Honolulu. Around 1895, she married William J. Alapai and became known as “Madame Alapai.” Receiving no formal musical training, she learned to sing by entertaining audiences. Nani joined the Royal Hawaiian Band around 1897 as a female soprano soloist and accompanied the band on its 1905 appearances in the United States. The Oregon Daily Journal noted, “Her voice is naturally sweet and her talent distinctively native.” Alapai became known as the Prima Donna or Kāhuli of the Royal Hawaiian Band. She recorded a number of Hawaiian songs for the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1904 and was also one of the first vocalists to publicly perform and popularize Queen Liliʻuokalani’s song “Aloha ʻOe.” The Hawaii Territorial Senate honored her by granting Alapai a pension in 1921. Nani died in Hawaii, on October 1, 1928.
Sources: Kanahele, George S. (1979). Hawaiian Music and Musicians: An Illustrated History (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1979). Retrieved 1/13/2021, Hawaiian music and musicians: an illustrated history: Kanahele, George S: Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming: Internet Archive "The Hawaiian Song Bird Never Had A Music Lesson," The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. September 29, 1905. p. 1. Retrieved 1/13/2021, The Pacific commercial advertiser. [volume] (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands) 1885-1921, 9/29/1905, Image 1 « Chronicling America « Library of Congress (loc.gov) “Nani Alapai,” People Pill. Retrieved 1/13/2021, Nani Alapai: Hawaiian soprano singer | Biography, Facts, Career, Wiki, Life (peoplepill.com) Wikipedia Photo: Hawaii & South Seas Curio Co., circa 1900s. Postcard. Public Domain.