Hawaii has lost another important figure in Hawaiian music, an ‘ukulele virtuoso, singer, composer, film producer and primary proponent of the 20th century Hawaiian Renaissance. Eddie Kamae passed away Saturday morning at age 89.
I am fortunate to have crossed paths with Uncle Eddie Kamae several times over the years. First, during a trip to Kauai in 1993, I stumbled upon his documentary The Hawaiian Way The Art and Tradition of Slack Key Music on TV reinforcing my life long interest in Hawaiian slack key guitar. In 2006, I got the chance to personally thank him for the inspiration of his music, research, and films. It was an incredible honor to perform with Darin Leong at Pacifika: New York Hawaiian Film Festival (NYHFF) before Eddie and Myrna Kamae. I’ve included a few photos below of this very special time spent with the Kamae’s in New York City. In subsequent years, I would randomly see Uncle Eddie and Auntie Myrna at parks and music venues while visiting Honolulu. The extent to which his work as a historian, musician, and filmmaker impacted me 5,000 miles away from Hawaii is quite amazing.
My condolences to the Kamae family. I am grateful of the rich legacy of music and film that Uncle Eddie has left behind. Indeed, he has genuinely touched so many of us. Aloha ‘oe. Rest in aloha.