Eddie Kamae (4 August 1927 – January 7, 2017) is one of the founding members of Sons of Hawaii. He is a ‘ukulele virtuoso, singer, composer, film producer and primary proponent of the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance. He was well known for wearing traditional Hawaiian Palaka designed shirts.

Eddie Leilani Kamae was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised both there and in Lahaina, Maui. His grandmother was a dancer for King David Kalākaua’s court.

He learned to play the ‘ukulele with an instrument his bus driver brother found on the public transport. Eddie would sit by the radio and try to play with any rhythm section he was hearing, usually Latin, classical and jazz tunes. When he was 14 years old, his father would take him to jam sessions where Eddie would get up on stage to play, earning accolades from the audiences who threw money at the performers’ feet. Kamae began going to Queen’s Surf to listen to the Hawaiian music being played.

In 1948, Kamae and Shoi Ikemi formed the Ukulele Rascals, the first known professional all-ukulele act. Eddie began to teach ‘ukulele. 2006 ‘Ukulele Hall of Fame Inductee Herb Ohta Sr., also known at Ohta-San, was mentored by Eddie.

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Sons Of Hawaii

In the early days of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, beginning in the early 1960s, some of the leading voices were musicians and singers who were looking for a way to express themselves through their music. Among the most influential groups of that era to lead the way were the Sons of Hawai‘i, led by Eddie Kamae, who was already famous for his ‘ukulele styling along with the renowned vocalist and slack-key guitar virtuoso, Gabby Pahinui. They proved to be pioneers in the resurgence of Hawaiian music. Together they demonstrated a new way to make the ‘ukuleke “talk story”. Eddie himself would come to be known for his inventive methods of plucking all four strings simultaneously, playing the chords and melody at the same time.

The story unfolds in Waimanalo, on the windward side of Oahu, in 1958, when Eddie and Gabby first got together with bassist Joe Marshall and the brilliant young steel guitar player, David “Feet” Rogers who was only seventeen at the time. A year later, they opened at Honolulu’s “Sandbox,” a nightclub on Sand Island, where they became an instant sensation known for their authenticity of sound, bringing new life to traditional Hawaiian music.

Hawaiian Music Awards

1978 Iris Award winner for TV Special Christmas Time with Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawai‘i

– Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner
1982 Anthology of the Year – Best of Sons of Sons of Hawai‘i From the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists

– Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner
1992 Lifetime Achievement Award From the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists

– Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner
2005 Album of the Year and Anthology of the Year – Eddie Kamae Sons of Hawai‘i From the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists

– Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner
2007 Anthology of the Year Award – Eddie Kamae & Friends From the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists

– Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner
2007 Moe Keale “Aloha is” Award for Community Service From the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists

– Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner
2009 Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawai‘i Nominations from the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists
Hawaiian Album of the Year – Yesterday & Today Vol. I
Group of the Year – Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawai‘i
Song of the Year – Maka Ua, Eddie & Myrna Kamae

– Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner
2009 Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award – Eddie Kamae and The Sons of Hawai‘i

www.sonsofhawaii.com