Apaka, Alfred (Aholo) [Afat, Alfred Aiu]
- Jay W. Junker
[Afat, Alfred Aiu]
(b Honolulu, Mar 19, 1919; d Honolulu, Jan 30, 1960). Hawaiian pop singer. In many ways, Apaka was the first modern pop star in Hawaiian music. His warm baritone reflected the enormous impact of Bing Crosby’s crooning in Hawaii during the 1930s, but also evoked comparisons with Elvis Presley and Marty Robbins a generation later, especially when they sang Hawaiian repertoire. Apaka’s good looks, trademark red carnation lei and easygoing charm attracted mainstream media, and he was one of the few Hawaiian artists to appear regularly on national programs in the 1950s. Romantic ballads were Apaka’s forte, especially hapa haole songs such as “Beyond the Reef” and “Lovely Hula Hands.” Much of his Hawaiian-language repertoire was similarly nahenahe (sweet) though he also performed up-tempo songs and novelties. Instrumental support tended to reflect the then-thriving Waikiki lounge scene with amplified steel guitar, ukulele, rhythm guitar, string bass and sometimes vibraphone and percussion....