Hawaiian Musician and Song Composer
John Kameaaloha Almeida was a blind musician and songwriter from Oahu, Hawaii. His 1930s radio program on Oahu radio station KGU AM earned him the title “The Dean of Hawaiian Music”. By the time of his death he had composed hundreds of meles (songs) that have become Hawaiian music standards of today.
Almeida is ranked among the top composers of Hawaiian songs. He was a prolific composer of over 300 Hawaiian songs written in both the ‘Olelo Hawai’i (Hawaiian Language) and the English language. Classic Hawaiian songs such as Noho Paipai, Green Rose Hula, Kiss Me Love, Holoholo Ka’a, Maile Swing, Panini Puakea, Roselani Blossoms, Kanaka Waiwai, and countless more were all composed by John Kameaaloha Almeida.
A multi-talented master musician with vocal skills played the ukulele, banjo, guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, violin, saxophone, and piano. Hawaiian musicians such as Na Palapalai, Isreal Kamakawiwoole, Gary Haleamau, Mark Yamanaka, Dennis Pavao, Melveen Leed, Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado and many other Na Hoku Hanohano Award recipients have all recorded songs composed by the Hawaiian music legend Almeida. John Kameaaloha Almeida is a 1998 Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Honoree.
About John Kameaaloha Almeida
Almeida was born John Celestino Almeida Jr. on November 28, 1897 in the Pauoa Valley on the island of Oahu in the then-Republic of Hawaii. His mother, Julia Kamaka Almeida, a Honolulu lei seller was alone on a hillside picking maile for leis when she went into labor. With no way to wash her hands of the poisonous maile bush sap Julie delivered John by herself. John Almeida was born partially blind.
When he was just 3 years old his father John Almeida Sr. left the family to return to Portugal. Mother Julia moved to Waianae were she eventually met Paulo Kameaaloha, who became hanai father to John and his sister. John Almeida carried his hanai name Kameaaloha for the rest of his life, becoming John Kameaaloha Almeida. Paulo and Julia added sister Martha to the family. Conversations in the Kameaaloha home were held exclusively in Hawaiian, giving young Johnny the advantage of being bilingual at an early age.
As John Almeida grew older his vision worsened, but his musical ability and love of Hawaiian music grew. At the age of 15, he formed a group called the Owai’anae Star Glee which evolved into Johnny Almeida’s Hawaiians. In 1917 at 20 years old Almeida performed at Queen Liliuokalani’s funeral. He also had the honor to performed for Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, as well as Princess Abigail Kawananakoa.
John Kameaaloha Almeida’s entire life was devoted to Hawaiian music. He has recorded his music under several record labels to include Brunswick Records,
Hawaiian Transcription Productions, 49th State Records, Waikiki Records, and Hana Ola.
Hawaiian Musician and Song Composer John Kameaaloha Almeida died on October 9, 1985 at 87 years of age.