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Tau Moe

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Biography

Tau Moe (“Papa Tau”) (August 13, 1908 – June 24, 2004) was a singer and musician who formed The Tau Moe Family musical troupe which toured the globe for decades.

Tau Moe (pronounced Mo-ay) was born in American Samoa to an American Mormon missionary family of Samoan descent. He was raised in Laie, near the 1919 Mormon Laie Hawaii Temple. Tau was a graduate of McKinley High School and from his travels learned to speak 10 languages.
Tau’s nephew Josefa Moe (born 1933 – died 2006) was himself a legendary stage performer in Polynesian revues. Josefa was also the original Moki from the Hawaiian Punch commercials.

The Tau Moe Family touring troupe, consisted of Tau Moe, guitar and bass vocals; Rose Moe, lead vocals; Lani Moe, ukulele and vocals; Dorian Moe, second guitar and vocals; and were accompanied at least once by Bob Brozman, Hawaiian guitar and harp guitar. The Tau Moe Family was included in the American Folk Music and Folklore Recordings. The troupe performed for international figures including Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Aristotle Onassis, Mohandas Gandhi and King Farouk.
Moe was an influential pioneer of the Hawaiian steel guitar who along with his wife Rose formed the core of troupe. The group’s success coincided with increased interest in Polynesia due in part to colonialism, and exemplified by cultural fads like Tiki bars and Tiki culture. The Tau Moe Family helped break the race barrier in the United States. In the late 1940s, the troupe assisted paramedics during riots in India.

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