Hawaiian Music Collection - Iona, Andy: Performer Biography

Andy Iona was born Andy Aiona Long in 1902 in the town of Waimea, Kauai. He was considered an all around musician with the ability to play many instruments; but was noted for being an excellent steel guitarist and saxophonist. Beyond his musical talent, Andy was a superb arranger and composer, having the ability to write a quality orchestral arrangement without using an instrument. Despite the loss of his thumb in a machine shop accident at school, Andy became the first saxophone player for John Noble and the Moana Orchestra in the early 1920s. He also was a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band. In 1921 Andy began to play Hawaiian music on the mainland. He entertained mostly in New York and California, but also toured Japan for a period of time between the 1920s and 1930s. In New York he performed alongside Lena Machado, playing steel guitar for a series of television tapes produced by Charles E. King in the 1940's. He starred in the movies Bird of Paradise and Waikiki Wedding, as well as Song of the Islands in 1942 with Lani McIntire and Sol Hopii. From 1951-1952, Andy toured with Hawaiian Falsetto great George Kainapau in the Hollywood Ice Review. Andy's personal musical influences not only came from other Hawaiian musicians, but also included great jazz musicians. Andy Iona died in 1966, but his musical gift will be forever perpetuated in Hawaiian music.

Todaro, Tony. Golden Years of Hawaiian Entertainment. Honolulu: Tony Todaro Publishing Co, 1974. (Pages 154-155).