It is the most played song in the world. In Zanzibar they play it at the end of weddings, in Romania at the end of funerals, in Mexico it is the hymn of demonstrators against a newly elected president, in Germany it is known as a sailor’s song from the North Sea. The film is a journey on the wings of La Paloma. What is the song’s secret? Why does it touch people of every color and creed?
You know the tune, but you probably can’t remember where you heard it. Perhaps you remember some melancholy Spanish lyrics or the breezy lyrics Elvis sang in Blue Hawaii.
“La Paloma” has more than 2000 recorded versions. The Hawaiian guitar helped spread its popularity.
“I learned from my teacher [Raymond Kane] who learned from his uncle. Sometimes the simplest music seems to last. La Paloma is one of these songs,” said Harry.
When Sigrid Faltin, the award-winning writer and filmmaker came to Hawaii in 2007 to film Raymond Kane for her recent documentary, she found Mr. Kane in ill health. Asked if he knew anyone that could play in his stead, Harry immediately came to mind. Harry studied with Mr. Kane under a Hawaii State Foundation of Culture and Arts grant to perpetuate the Hawaiian arts. Mr. Kane recognized Harry as someone who could pass down the knowledge and tradition of slack-key to yet another generation. He chose well. In April of 2008, Harry traveled to Germany to play at the movie’s opening.