Friday, November 19, 2004

New Eddie Kamae Biography

Award-winning author James D. Huston has just written a new biography of Hawaiian music legend and ukulele maestro Eddie Kamae: "Hawaiian Son: The Life and Music of Eddie Kamae".
"HAWAIIAN SON is the story of an extraordinary musician whose influential career has spanned over half a century. As a young man in the late l940s Eddie Kamae developed a jazz picking style that forever changed the status of the 'ukulele. He became its reigning virtuoso. For twenty years his legendary band, The Sons of Hawai'i, played a leading role in the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance. By the mid-1970s Kamae himself had become a folk hero, known for his instrumental genius and for a vigorous singing style that carried the spirit of an ancient vocal tradition into the late 20th century. In l979 he was named 'A Living Treasure of Hawai'i."
And get this, Houston's book rates a pull quote from W. S. Merwin, no less:
"Eddie Kamae is a living treasure of Hawai'i, one of the rare links with the traditions of Hawaiian music that have come down to us through the generations . . . . To have an eloquent and meticulously presented account of his life and outlook, his views on music and the life of which it sings, is something to be grateful for."
Grateful, indeed. This will undoubtedly be the year's "must have" for any uke afficiondado. I know that since I'm taking the family to Disneyland for Xmas, Santa will surely leave a copy under the tree for me this year (hint, hint, family). Link to James D. Houston's site (be sure to check out his complete works). Another story in Waikiki News about the book's release.

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