Roots of the Ramblers: Our Musical Influences
The Ramblers first formed after the release of Ron's CD set Virginia Roots: The 1929 Richmond Sessions and the opening of Gregg's exhibition Virginia Roots Music. At a concert to pay tribute to Virginia's rich musical traditions, they performed the music of the Tubize Royal Hawaiian Orchestra of Hopewell, Virginia, a factory band based in a textile mill, inspiring a full show on the influence of Hawaiian music in American Roots music. While the band has since branched out into a wide variety of roots styles, they still perform shows of strictly Hawaiian songs. One of the most famous tunes we perform is Charles King's iconic "Na Lei O Hawaii" often titled "Song of the Islands" in English. King was a giant of Hawaiian music, not only writing enduring songs but also compiling a definitive book of Hawaiian melodies. You will find countless versions of "Na Lei O Hawaii" on Youtube, ranging from traditional arrangements by modern Hawaiian masters (Ledward Ka'apana's inspired ours) to a jazz version by Louis Armstrong. You've probably heard the song without even knowing it from this scene in "It's A Wonderful Life."