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Eddie Kamae

Eddie Kamae
Birth name Edward Leilani Kamae
Also known as Eddie Kamae
Born (1927-08-04) August 4, 1927
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Occupation(s) Live performer
Film Producer
Hawaiian Culture Historian
Instruments Ukulele
Years active 1940–present
Labels Lehua
Associated acts Ukulele Rascals
Sons of Hawaii
Ray Kinney Orchestra
Website Sons of Hawaii
Notable instruments

Eddie Kamae (born 4 August 1927) is one of the founding members of Sons of Hawaii. He is a 'ukulele virtuoso, singer, composer, film producer and primary proponent of the [1]Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance.


  • Biography 1
  • Sons of Hawaii 2
  • Film producer 3
  • Awards 4
  • Discography 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Eddie Leilani Kamae was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised both there and in Lahaina, Maui. His grandmother was a dancer[2] for King David Kalākaua's court.

He learned to play the 'ukulele[3] with an instrument his bus driver brother found on the public transport. Eddie would sit by the radio and try to play with any rhythm section he was hearing, usually Latin, classical and jazz tunes. When he was 14 years old, his father would take him to jam sessions where Eddie would get up on stage to play, earning accolades from the audiences who threw money at the performers' feet. Kamae began going to Queen's Surf to listen to the Hawaiian music being played.

In 1948, Kamae and Shoi Ikemi formed the Ukulele Rascals,[4] the first known professional all-ukulele act.

Eddie began to teach 'ukulele. 2006 'Ukulele Hall of Fame Inductee Herb Ohta Sr., also known at Ohta-San,[4] was mentored by Eddie.[5]

Sons of Hawaii

Kamae was introduced to Gabby Pahinui in 1959, and the slack key virtuoso demonstrated a new way to make the 'ukuleke "talk story". Eddie himself would come to be known for his inventive methods of plucking all four strings simultaneously,[4][6] playing the chords and melody at the same time.[1] They began playing together and formed Sons of Hawaii, with their first paying gig at The Sand Box.

Film producer

Mary Kawena Pukui[7] and Pilahi Paki became Eddie's first teachers in the Hawaiian language. Eddie began to feel a growing need[1] to teach the Hawaiian culture through music, to pass it along to succeeding generations. Eddie began to chart a new course with his arts.

His 1971 initial meeting with Hawaiian poet Sam Li'a Kalainaina Jr. resulted in Kamae's first documentary in 1988,[8] LI'A: The Legacy of a Hawaiian Man . Together, Kamae and Li'a wrote Hawaii Pia Valley Song. Eddie has also produced the documentaries[9] The Hawaiian Way The Art and Tradition of Slack Key Music (1993) The History of the Sons of Hawaii (2004), Words, Earth & Aloha: Source of Hawaiian Music (2005), Keepers of the Flame (2005) Lahaina: Waves of Change (2007).


Eddie Kamae Awards and Recognitions[6]
Year Presented By Award-Recognition
1978 State of Hawaii, House of Representatives Resolution for outstanding achievements in Hawai‘ian musical performance, research and recording
1978 National Association of Television Programming Executives[10] Iris Award
1978 New York International Film Festival Award
1979 Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Living Treasure of Hawaii[11]
1984 March of Dimes No Ka Oi Award for outstanding showmanship
1989 Brigham Young University-Hawaii and The Polynesian Cultural Center Na Makua Mahalo Ia Award for a lifetime of dedicated service to the people of Hawai‘i through musical composition and performance scholarship
1992 Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award[12]
1993 Hawaii Delegation of the United States Congress Joint Resolution to Eddie and Myrna Kamae for service and accomplishments in leadership, music and film
1996 Bishop Museum Charles Reed Bishop Award[13] for best exemplifying the spirit and purpose of Bishop Museum founder Charles Reed Bishop
2000 Commission on Culture and The Arts for City and County of Honolulu Lifetime Achievement Award
2001 Ukulele Hall of Fame Induction [11]
2002 Hawaii International Film Festival To Eddie and Myrna Kamea for their ongoing contribution of their Hawaiian Legacy Series
2005 Hawaii Governor Governor Lingle July 24 declared[9] Eddie Kamae Day
2005 House of Representatives, State of Hawaii Resolution for Achievement in Hawaii Music and Film
2006 The Hawai‘ian Cultural Foundation at Pacifika New York Hawai‘ian Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award
2006 New York City Council, Councilman John Liu Proclamation for Contributions to the Perpetuation of Hawaiian culture through music and film
2007 National Endowment for the Arts NEA National Heritage Fellowship[2]
2007 Hawaii Tourism Authority Keep it Hawai‘i Kahili Award, recognition of perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.
2007 Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Inductee


  • Yesterday & Today, Vol. 2 (2009) CD (Hawaii Sons)
  • Yesterday & Today (2008) CD (Hawaii Sons)
  • This Is Eddie Kamae (2008) CD 1197 (Omagatoki Japan)
  • Eddie Kamae & Friends (2006) CD 8542 (Hawaii Sons)
  • Heart of the Ukulele (2004) CD 3002 (Surfside/Mahalo)
  • Eddie Kamae Presents: The Best of Sons of Hawaii, Vol. 1 (2004) CD (Hawaii Sons)
  • Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawaii (2004) CD (Hawaii Sons)
  • Christmas Time With Eddie Kamae & Sons of Hawai'i (2004) CD 1014 (Hawaii Sons)
  • Sons of Hawaii (1998) CD 8516 (Panini)
  • Music of Old Hawaii (1962) CD Hula


Kamae, Eddie; Houston, James D (2004). Hawaiian Son. Hawaiian Legacy.

  • Sons of Hawaii Home Page
  • The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation

External links

  1. ^ a b c Buck, Elizabeth (1993). Paradise Remade: The Politics of Culture and History in Hawai'i. Temple University Press.  
  2. ^ a b "NEA Heritage Fellowship". NEA. Retrieved 20 May 2010.  NEA
  3. ^ "NEA Interview". NEA. Retrieved 20 May 2010.  NEA
  4. ^ a b c Eidson, Ken; Cherednik, Ross (1993). Hawaiian Uke Tunebook. Mel Bay Publications.  
  5. ^ "Ohta-San". The Ukulele Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 May 2010. The Ukulele Hall of Fame
  6. ^ a b "Eddie Kamae and Sons of Hawaii". Hawaii Sons Inc. Retrieved 20 May 2010. Hawaii Sons Inc
  7. ^ Gordon, Mike (2 July 2006). "Mary Kawena Pukui". Honolulu Advertiser. 
  8. ^ "LI'A". The Hawaii Legacy Foundation. Retrieved 20 May 2010. The Hawaii Legacy Foundation
  9. ^ a b "About Eddie Kamae". Hawaiian Music History. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "NATPE Awards". NATPE. Retrieved 20 May 2010. NATPE
  11. ^ a b "Ukulele Hall of Fame Inductees". The Ukulele Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 May 2010.  The Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum
  12. ^ "Na Hoku Hanohano Award". Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts. Retrieved 20 May 2010.  Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts
  13. ^ "Bishop Museum". Bishop Museum. Retrieved 20 May 2010.  Bishop Museum



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