Portuguese Hawaiian Profile
Frank Ferreira: Bringing The Aloha Sound To The World
By Melody Lassalle
Frank Ferreira (aka Frank Ferera) was born 12 Jun 1885 in Honolulu to Frank and Maria Ferreira. He spent his childhood in Honolulu. He was a talented musician and had dreams of pursuing music as a career. His dream would influence a generations by introducing them to the steel guitar.
The steel guitar first appeared on the scene in the 1880s. It is unknown who invented the steel guitar, but it soon became an important part of Hawaiian music history. Hawaiian music was recorded as early as the 1890s, but was virtually unknown outside of Hawaii until after 1900. It's popularity rose during World War I. Many American artists later took up the ukelele and steel guitar. Frank Ferreira played a part in bringing Hawaiian music to the rest of the United States.
Frank was a gifted steel guitarist and knowledgeable in Hawaiian music as well as other forms. Around 1905, Frank decided to seek his fame and fortune in the music business. According to one source, he left Hawaii in 1914 to be a part of the Panama Pacific Exhibit held in San Francisco.
Frank's recording debut was in September 1915 on an early Edison recording. He performed for Edison under the name "Palakiko Ferreira" and lead "Palakiko's Hawaiian Orchestra". In December 1916, Frank was featured on the cover of "Edison Photograph Monthly."
Frank married Eva Perkins. They were divorced soon after and he remarried to Helen Greenus. He and Helen performed as a vaudeville act called "Helen Louise and Frank Ferrera". Although they benefitted from the growing popularity of Hawaiian music, they performed Hawaiian all types of music. In July 1915, the couple made their recording debut with Columbia.
Tragedy struck four years later. In December 1919, the couple was on a ship travelling from Los Angeles to San Francisco. On that voyage, Helen disappeared, never to be recovered. She was 32 years old.
Frank continued performing after Helen's death. He managed the "Waikiki Hawaiian Orchestra". In the 1920s, he was a member of the "Hawaiian Trio". He also worked as a soloist on the recordings of other performers. Frank continued to record until 1933. In his career he made hundreds of recordings. Some of these recording survive today on various CD compilations. Artist's from the 1920s and later attribute their interest in the steel guitar to Frank Ferreira.
Frank married a third time. His third wife was named Ruth. Frank and Ruth had two childen together: Mary and Frank Ferreira III. Frank died 26 Jun 1951. Among his achievements, he is credited with introducing Hawaiian steel guitar to United States audiences. He is also a member of the Royal Hawaiian Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. You can view a photo of Frank by going to their website at: Royal Hawaiian Steel Guitar Hall of Fame
© 2003 Melody Lassalle
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