I saw a wonderful picture in Amy Crehore's terrific blog Little Hokum Rag, which, if you haven't seen then stop reading this and go there now.
It was of a group of female musicians from Chicago called the Kohala Girls. Here's the pic:
Needless to say, I was intrigued (who wouldn't be?) so I did some interweb research and found some more pics, probably from the same session.
The guiding light of this visually remarkable ensemble was a woman named Letricia Kandle, seated second from left. An acknowledged steel guitar virtuoso, she later recorded and arranged with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, playing a unique instrument called the "Letar", a steel guitar hybrid with four necks, each (presumably) in different keys.
|Letricia with Paul Whiteman and the Grand Letar|
According to one of her former music students, she was a natural musician, able to sight read and play classical music on the steel guitar. At one point she had sixteen guitar teachers working with her at her school in Chicago.
Ms. Kandle died last June at the age of 94. Apparently she was happy to be rediscovered, although she had stopped playing back in 1954.