Beloved ukulele master, founding member of the Sons of Hawaii, award-winning composer and accomplished filmmaker Eddie Kamae will be remembered during a celebration of life Feb. 4 at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki, according to an announcement made today by his family and the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation.
Kamae, 89, was under hospice care when he died on Jan. 17, with one of his most recognizable songs, “E Ku’u Morning Dew” playing in the room and the multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning recording artist’s wife, Myrna, by his side.
One of the main individuals behind the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance of the mid-20th century, Kamae and another legendary musician, the late Gabby Pahinui, formed the Sons of Hawaii and released more than a dozen traditional Hawaiian music albums starting in the 1960s. That group was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts; Kamae himself had also been inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame two years earlier.
Along with those awards, Kamae has been recognized dozens of times over the course of his career according to his foundation, including an honorary degree from the University of Hawaii for efforts to preserve Hawaiian culture and language, and the designation as a Master of Traditional Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kamae was a filmmaker as well, producing 10 independent films under the umbrella of his Hawaiian Legacy Foundation Series. His last movie project was “Those Who Came Before,” which focused on his own musical journey and was released in 2010.
Private services will be held for Kamae, but friends, business associates and fans are invited to don palaka attire and bid him a fond aloha as he “sets sail from Kaimana Beach” starting at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 4. Instead of lei, his family suggests bringing loose flowers to drop in the ocean instead and request any donations be made to the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, P.O. Box 8230, Honolulu 96830.