The Tau Moe Family

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Brought out of retirement by slide guitarist and ethnomusicologist Bob Brozman to record an album, Ho'oman'o I NA Mele O Ka Wa U'I, in 1989, the Tau Moe Family put the final stamp on a career that spanned…
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Brought out of retirement by slide guitarist and ethnomusicologist Bob Brozman to record an album, Ho'oman'o I NA Mele O Ka Wa U'I, in 1989, the Tau Moe Family put the final stamp on a career that spanned more than six decades. The progenitors of the Tau Moe Family, Tau and Rose Moe, first attracted attention in the 1920s when they toured throughout the world as members of Madam Riviere's Hawaiians. Riviere, who had been sent by the French government to study the economy of Tahiti, had become fascinated by Hawaiian music and had assumed the role as cultural ambassador. The Moes toured with Madam Riviere's Hawaiians until the 1930s, when they set off to build their own legacy as a duo. Over the next half century, they performed on every continent but North America. The couple met Adolf Hitler at a fundraiser for German orphans in 1938. The meeting was extremely worrisome as the Moes had helped numerous Jews to escape Germany. An amateur filmmaker, Tau documented the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Encouraged to leave Germany by the American Embassy, the Moes had difficulty finding a new home. Temporarily settling in Lebanon, they had to move again after Italy declared war on the Middle East country. Although they planned to return to Hawaii, they were forced to change their plans when war was declared in the Pacific. They finally found refuge after moving to Bombay, India, where Tau formed and led a big band. Following the war's conclusion, the couple resumed touring with a family group that included their son, Lani, and daughter, Dorian. As their children aged, the Moes veered away from traditional Hawaiian music. By the late '60s, the Tau Moe Family had turned their focus to contemporary pop and rock & roll. Retired by the early '80s, Tau and Rose Moe believed that their career was in the past. At the insistence of Brozeman, however, they agreed to record another album. The recording turned out to be their last project, as Rose passed away on December 18, 1998.