Wednesday, November 25, 2015         


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Kamaes' solid reputation opens door to isles' history

By Ben Wood


LIGHTS, CAMERA, KAMAE: Eddie and Myrna Kamae are a remarkable couple. The world premiere of "Those Who Came Before," their 10th cultural documentary in the award-winning Hawaiian Legacy Foundation Series, was held Saturday as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival. It focuses on Eddie's musical journey, a trip involving author and translator Mary Kawena Pukui; the "Songwriter of Waipi'o" Sam Li'a; "Aloha Chant" author Pilahi Paki; and Hawaiian cultural resource Lilia "Mama" Hale. These treasured Hawaiian elders would not open up to any Tom, Dick or Harry, but Eddie, 83, is not your normal Joe; he's a living legend. The elders were aware of his stature, musical ability and character, and entrusted him with key pieces of Hawaii's musical heritage to pass on to isle children, something Eddie and Myrna strive to do in their documentaries. The Kamaes' work with the music of Queen Liliuokalani is also covered in this beautiful picture, directed by Eddie. When he is not speaking about the elders or describing historical happenings on camera, Ka'upena Wong provides narration. Rodney A. Ohtani's camera work captures Hawaii's scenic beauty and writer Don Wallace holds everything together well. Anyone interested in Hawaiian music and history should see this picture.

Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, who founded the film festival in 1981 and was its director to 1996, attended Saturday's showing at the Regal Dole Cannery theaters, as did little Sam Krug, 5, who is seen playing his uke in the film, and singer Jimmy Borges and wife, Vicki. ...

"Those Who Came Before" will be shown free Sunday at Sunset on the Beach. Entertainment starts at 4:30 p.m. and will include Mel Murata & the Keiki Palaka Band and other guests. Eddie's Sons of Hawaii group was a key part of the Hawaiian Renaissance cultural movement. Those who wish to see a living legend perform can catch Eddie and the Sons of Hawaii Sundays, 3:30 to 7 p.m., in Honey's at Koolau Golf Club. Members of today's group include Mike Kaawa, Paul Kim, Ocean Kaowili and Analu Aina. ...

ACTORS Richard Dreyfuss and Kal Penn, Debbie Matenopoulos from E! Entertainment and local "Project Runway" designer Andy South are among the celebrities who will attend the dressy EuroCinema Hawaii Awards Gala tonight at the Moana Surfrider, 7 to 10 p.m. Dreyfuss will present the Princess Dialta Alliata di Montereale award, made by Tiffany, for best film and also will award a prize of $1,000 to a University of Hawaii Academy for Creative Media student for best student film. Tickets, $100, can be purchased at the door or through, with proceeds going for scholarships. ...

WELL-DESERVED: Helen Altonn, who retired Aug. 1 shortly before marking 55 years with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Star-Advertiser, was honored by the Hawaii Academy of Science Oct. 14 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Science and Education in Hawaii. She also received a certificate appointing her as a Lifetime Celebrity Judge at the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair, an event she covered through the years. Today, the UH School of Ocean, Earth Science and Technology is having an informal get-together to honor Helen. ...

KRISTIAN LEI is back in town from Hong Kong and sang with Mihana Souza at Duc's Oct. 14. Kristian also sang a duet with one of her voice students, Kealoha Beeck. ...

Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things Fridays. E-mail him at


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