Eddie Kamae (left) with Sam Li’a (photo: Honolulu Advertiser)
One of Hawai’i’s premier ‘ukulele legends left us on Saturday. Eddie Kamae was a huge influence on Hawaiian music with his work as a solo artist and also in the Sons Of Hawai’i. He composed many beautiful Hawaiian tunes including E Ku’u Morning Dew which is part of the standard ‘ukulele repertoire here in the islands. Locally, in Hamakua, Eddie Kamae is probably known best for his efforts as a music historian and the documentary that he and his wife put together on Sam Li’a – the fiddle player of old Waipi’o and composer of Hi’ilawe.
I never had the chance to meet Uncle Eddie, but remember vividly the first time I listened to the Legends of the Ukulele album that included his version of Ka Ua Loko. It was the first time I heard his playing and his sound was radically different and tasteful amongst a bunch of flashy new-school tunes.