Restored recording could give king voice


POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2009

The voice of King David Kalakaua could be heard for the first time in 118 years, if specialists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory can restore a wax recording made just four days before his death.





        Text of a recording by King David Kalakaua, which will be sent to the mainland to be restored:

“;Aloha kaua—aloha kaua. Ke hoi nei no paha makou ma keia hope aku i Hawaii, i Honolulu. A ilaila oe e hai aku ai oe i ka lehulehu i kau mea e lohe ai ianei.”; (”;We greet each other—we greet each other. We will very likely hereafter go to Hawaii, to Honolulu. There you will tell my people what you have heard me say here.”;)




The recording is the oldest in the Bishop Museum collection, according to DeSoto Brown, collection manager for the museum's archives. The cylinder phonograph, which used the earliest audio technology invented by Thomas Edison in the 1870s, was donated to the museum by James Pratt in 1918.

The museum has restored several old recordings that include Hawaiian chants and speeches, and Brown hopes that advanced technology will also allow the public to hear Kalakaua's voice.

“;We are very hopeful that the recording can be restored, but it could go either way,”; said Brown.

Hawaiian Airlines will fly the recording to Berkeley, Calif. The airline is donating $150,000 in cash and air transportation to the museum through the next three years, museum and airline officials announced yesterday.

“;This (the recording) allows us to be connected to people in the past. This is the lone one—one remaining mystery that no one alive has ever heard,”; Brown said.

;[Preview]  Bishop Museum Bringing Back A Voice From Hawaii's Past

The Bishop Musuem hopes to bring back the voice of King David Kalakaua 100 years later.

Watch ]


Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Airlines, said the company sought a “;meaningful and lasting”; way to contribute to the community in celebration of Hawaiian Airlines' 80th anniversary this year. “;Bishop Museum has been protecting, preserving and teaching the history of our islands for the past 120 years,”; he said.

The museum has suffered in the financial downturn, laying off 19 employees last month and reducing remaining staff members to a 36-hour workweek. Additional costs were cut by closing the museum on Tuesdays and temporarily shutting down the Hawaii Maritime Center.

“;This gift is a breath of fresh air as we continue to face economic challenges,”; said Timothy Johns, president and chief executive officer of Bishop Museum.