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McDiarmid's recording biz was kept in the ohana


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POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hula Records story begins in 1947 when Don McDiarmid Sr., already a successful band leader and hapa haole song writer, decided to record some of the songs he'd written in the '30s. He named the label Hula Records so that when visitors asked for “;hula records,”; store clerks would steer them to his recordings.

Unfortunately, so many of the fragile 78 rpm discs were broken while being shipped to Hawaii that the project didn't break even. The label went dormant for more than a decade.

Hula Records was resurrected in 1959 when Don McDiarmid Jr., decided to stop moonlighting for national labels and record Hawaiian music full time. Early releases included albums by Nina Keali'iwahamana, Vickie I'i Rodrigues, Gabby Pahinui and the Sons of Hawaii, Genoa Keawe and the Kahauanu Lake Trio.

Hula launched the Hawaiian renaissance with the first three albums by the Sunday Manoa and continued with albums by Palani Vaughan, Alice Namakelua, Edith Kanaka'ole, Maiki Aiu Lake and Kawai Cockett among others.

Don Jr. also purchased the “;Hawaii Calls”; archives after the chaotic collapse of the Hawaii Corp. in the mid-1970s.

Recent releases by the label, now under the direction of “;Flip”; McDiarmid III, include the Hoku Award-winning debut album of Aaron J. Sala and the Hoku Award-winning “;Aloha Festivals Hawaiian Falsetto Contest Winners”; series.