Harry Owens

Harry Owens (top center) appears with the members of his Royal Hawaiian Hotel Orchestra in a publicity photo from about 1935.

Owens, famed for composing the song “Sweet Leilani,” was hired by the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the early 1930s to entertain its guests with a modern American-style dance orchestra.

Notice that in addition to the expected instruments, like violins and saxophones, are hula dancers as well as Alvin Isaacs (top left) and an acoustic steel guitar player, who added a wonderfully romantic Hawaiian touch to the orchestra’s sound.

Photo: N. R. Farbman. Image from Bishop Museum Archives, Honolulu, Hawaii. Image sharing on Facebook is welcome. For all other uses, please contact archives@bishopmuseum.org