Exotica / Holland / Jazz / Sweden

Oea-Oea, an Exotica track by Dick Elgg and his Tahitians on 78 rpm record

Oea-Oea, an Exotica track by Dick Elgg and his Tahitians on 78 rpm record

Oea-Oea, an Exotica track by Dick Elgg and his Tahitians on 78 rpm record

This blog has been inactive for a few months… Well, I have often lacked time to post something, or was sometimes just too lazy and prefered listening to my records rather than writing about them. I’m back now and will try to be more dilligent ! As the weather is getting cold here in Paris, I propose to post something to make us feel a little warmer. I bought this record earlier this year in Stockholm (that happens to be a terrific city, I must say). Digging for 78s in Stockholm is not that easy, even though there are plenty of records shops there.

Thanks to my Swedish fellows from the 78-L mailing list, I finally found a few records at the Hötorget flea market, in front of the Royal Concert Hall.

This one was published on a Swedish label by a Dutch artist. “Oea-Oea” is a good exemple of the “Exotica” style and its strong Polynesian and Hawaiian influences that were especially popular in the late 40′s and the 50′s in western countries, with artists like Les Baxter or Arthur Lyman. Dick Elgg was a Dutch jazz guitarist with Indonesian origins (former Dutch East Indies). According to this paper, he was a regular performer at Rotterdam’s club “La Bonanza” in the early 50′s. I also found several advertisements of his concerts with his band “The Tahitians” in the Utrechtsch Nieuwsblad‘s and the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden‘s online archive.

Dick Elgg and his Tahitians at Huize Poll club in De Bilt (October 17 1951)

Dick Elgg and his Tahitians at Huize Poll club in De Bilt (October 17 1951)

Dick Elgg and his Tahitians at Huize Maas club in Groningen (May 30 1953)

Dick Elgg and his Tahitians at Huize Maas club in Groningen (May 30 1953)

I also received valuable assistance from Jan Brouwer and Niko Spijker, from the Nederland Jazz Archief. They made extra researches for me and found a mention of Dick Elgg in a short biography of the Dutch pianist and vibraphonist Flip Gehring. According to this document, the latter was part of Dick Elgg’s orchestra in 1953. Here are two pictures of this band, taken from the same document.

Dick Elgg and his orchestra at Huiz Maas, Groningen, summer 1953

Dick Elgg and his orchestra at Huiz Maas, Groningen, summer 1953

Dick Elgg and his orchestra at Habanera Club, Rotterdam, 1953

Dick Elgg and his orchestra at Habanera Club, Rotterdam, 1953

This 78rpm seems to be his only recording, published in 1948 by Sonora, a Swedish label that was very active in the field of jazz from 1932 and 1958. According to to the Swedish Media Database, the band performing for this record consisted of “three Dutch-Javanese and two Swedish studio musicians“.

I am very grateful to Mr. Al Quaglieri, who once again made a great job restoring this recording from New York. Thanks also to Per Ahlin and Kristjan Saag, who kindly helped me finding 78s in Stockholm. Last but not least, a special thanks to Jan Brouwer and Niko Spijker, from the Nederland Jazz Archief. Jan explained me that the Dutch Government’s grants to this archive will be canceled next year. You can support them on their website or buy ticktets for a benefit concert organized at Bimhuis Club in Amsterdam on December 16th. One last word : I created in a new section a list and a dynamic map of places where to find 78rpm in the world. I already received several contributions, don’t hesitate to post comments if you have any suggestions!

[Update (Dec. 3rd, 2012): I just discovered this classy website, where you'll find more information about the Sonora label]

9 thoughts on “Oea-Oea, an Exotica track by Dick Elgg and his Tahitians on 78 rpm record

  1. My name is Yoy Werdmüller von Elgg. I am the daughter of Dick Elgg, I would really like contact! Please write me!

  2. Merci pour ce formidable partage. D’après les photos, il semble peu probable que des Tahitiens se soient perdus dans cet orchestre suédois. Je collectionne essentiellement des 78 ayant trait à Tahiti, donc si j’en sais plus, je ne manquerais pas de le faire savoir.
    De Paname…

  3. Thanks for your magnific blog! I collect 78s since 1978 (I’m near fifty now…) and this same song, named AUWEI… I owned a spanish Philips 78 from 1954 or so with this, played by Mieke Telkamp group. Great theme. Thanks a lot.
    Iñigo Cubillo, from Madrid, Spain.
    BTW. Recently I visited Helsinki and I longed for buying some 78s there, as I spotted several used book stores near the central station streets. Unfortunately I did not have the time for a walk around and a record hunting stroll!

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