Queen in Concert

No, not the modern rock group, but Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani, in 1897. Actually, by that time she was the ex-Queen, as the Kingdom of Hawaii was taken over by the United States and made a territory in 1898.

On February 5, 1897, The New York Times published an article about the Liliuokalani’s upcoming Hawaiian Concert the next day in Washington D.C. She played the autoharp and Miss (Grace) Hilborn sang and played Ukulele. (Click on the photo at left to make it larger and easier to read.)

In her autobiography, Hawaii’s Story, Queen Liliuokalani wrote of the event:

While I was at the Shoreham, Mr. Hilborn called, and introduced his wife and daughter; and the beautiful voice of Miss Grace Hilborn, as she sang some of my own Hawaiian songs, to our instrument, the ukulele, gave to me that joy, so sadly sweet, of listening to the sounds of home in foreign lands. This charming family never relaxed their attentions to me while I resided in Washington, and I am indebted to each of them in more ways than I can speak of in these recollections.

According to The Times, the Ukulele–which was recently developed in Hawaii–was a “native instrument that looks and sounds like a diminutive guitar.”