Noted Hawaiian singer, pianist and organist Mahi Beamer died this morning at Kuakini Medical Center. He was 88.
Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning recording artist Kapono Beamer, said his “favorite uncle,” who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, collapsed shortly after playing piano at the funeral for his brother, Milton D. “Sonny” Beamer Jr., on Wednesday at Oahu Cemetery Chapel. Sonny Beamer died July 5 at the age of 91.
Edwin Mahi‘ai “Mahi” Copp Beamer was born Dec. 5, 1928, in Honolulu. A grandson of famed Big Island composer and hula teacher Helen Desha Beamer, he attended Kamehameha School, the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Julliard School of Music in New York.
His first tour of the mainland with his cousins, Winona and Keola (who was known in later years as “Uncle Keola”) was the the start of a career that included engagements at the Hawaiian Room in New York City, Carnegie Hall, the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, and numerous showrooms in Waikiki.
He recorded his first album, “The Remarkable Voice of Hawaii’s Mahi Beamer in Authentic Hawaiian Songs,” for Capitol Records in 1959.
Beamer received the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991 and was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
Survivors include his sister, Helen Kaaloehukaiopuaena “Sunbeam” Desha Beamer.