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Cruise Dairy: Cruising with the Legendary Henry Kaleialoha Allen

Guest Sharon Johnson and her husband are cruising again with HAL, this time on Zaandam’s 21-Day Collectors’ Voyage to Mexico and Hawaii. Sharon will chronicle their cruising experience for us on the blog. Enjoy!

Feb. 20, 2013:
One of the “On Location” team members that boarded the Zaandam in San Diego is living legend Henry Kaleialoha Allen. He is the last of the great Hawaiian ukulele and steel guitar players still living and is consider a master of both instruments. No one in Hawaii has equaled his achievement. The Hawaii State legislature has recognized him by declaring April 4th in Hawaii as Henry Kaleialoha Allen Day. He played Hawaiian favorites on the Hawaiian guitar with the HALCats during our sail-away. On our first full day at sea, Henry and his wife Sherron gave the history of the ukulele which is a Portuguese instrument brought to the islands by Portuguese cowboys. We found out that ukuleles bought back in the fifties are quite valuable, especially if made by the Martin Company. The plastic ukeleles bought today are just toys as they can’t be tuned.

Henry Kaleialoha Allen playing the Hawaiian guitar with the HALCats in the Crow's Nest. He has been playing Hawaiian favorites during "Happy Hour" each night.

Henry Kaleialoha Allen playing the Hawaiian guitar with the HALCats in the Crow’s Nest. He has been playing Hawaiian favorites during “Happy Hour” each night.

We are so lucky to have Henry Kaleialoha Allen on the ship. He is one of the last teachers and players of the only truly Hawaiian musical instrument, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar. There are some players in bands in Hawaii, but they really don’t know how to play it correctly. Henry knew the Hawaiian who accidentally invented the Kika Kila (Hawaiian guitar) when he dropped his comb on a guitar. The steel guitar is played worldwide and especially by those playing country western music. Henry demonstrated how he uses a steel bar to make the sound that is associated with the Hawaiian Steel guitar. He also uses two metal and a plastic pick on his other hand. Those sailing on the Zaandam’s next Hawaiian cruise are in for a real treat.

Henry with the Hawaiian Steel Guitar.

Henry with the Hawaiian Steel Guitar.

Henry playing the Hawaiian Ukelele today in the Aloha Concert  backed-up by the HALCats.

Henry playing the Hawaiian Ukelele today in the Aloha Concert backed-up by the HALCats.

Malia and Paki added their fantastic artistry to the “Aloha Hawaii” Concert with their graceful and elegant performance of the hula as they danced to the music and songs played by Henry Kaleialoaha Allen.

Malia dancing the hula in the Aloha Hawaii Concert.

Malia dancing the hula in the Aloha Hawaii Concert.

There was a hula class each day in the Lido Pool area. On Location team member Paki taught the class the hand, body and feet movements to the “Little Grass Shack” hula. We practiced for three days. Today we all walked onto the stage of the Zaandam’s Mondriaan Lounge to perform for our fellow passengers. The Mondriaan Lounge was packed. Paki and Malia led us in the hula. Henry Kaleialoha Allen and the HAL Cats played the hula music. — Sharon and Alan Johnson

Paki leading us in the Little Grass Shack hula on the Mondriaan Lounge stage.

Paki leading us in the Little Grass Shack hula on the Mondriaan Lounge stage.

On Location team member Malia  and me.

On Location team member Malia and me.

7 Comments
  • Elizabeth

    Hi, this comment may not be very much related with the article, but I would still very much like to post it here as there is nowhere else more suitable.

    I’d like to know if I could find newspaper and magazines such as Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, or TIME, FORTUNE, etc. on any of the Holland America cruises? I’m a business person and I will need to read them out of habit.

    Thanks.

  • Sharon duffy

    Would love to go on any Holland America cruise, but this one intrigues me

  • Lucille

    I would love to the Hawaiian language if it was taught on a circle Hawaii Cruise. I have not seen it on any of the Hal cruises to Hawaii. We are planing a cruise in 2014 with our 21yr old Grand-Daughter.

    Thanks

  • Rudolf Vakkers

    We would like the go to Hawaian cruise from San Diego with Henry Kaleizloha Allen that play on the cruise ship nex yeay is our 55 year anniversary tell us wich day we book thank you we are 2 diamonds mariners

  • Evelyne Dumont

    I would like to go to Hawaii with Holland but they don’t have 15-days cruises going just to Hawaii. All they have is longer cruises for Tahiti and Hawaii.

  • Linda Rodak

    I went to Alaska last year on the Oosterdam, we had a wonderful time. Would like to go to Hawaii next year on Holland. Please let me know about future cruises. And where they leave from.

  • Pat

    We were on the cruise with him and he was wonderful. He even gave ukulele lessons to us. We enjoyed this cruise very much.

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