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Launch of ‘The Eddie Kamae Songbook: A Musical Journey’


Eddie Kamae Songbook: A Musical Journey Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

Years in the making, “The Eddie Kamae Songbook: A Musical Journey” will be shared with the public for the first time. Published entirely online, “The Eddie Kamae Songbook” is a collection of 34 songs that were meaningful to Eddie’s journey as a musician, filmmaker, and Hawaiian son. The songbook will be available at no cost on May 1, 2022.

“Eddie realized the importance of documenting the wealth of traditional knowledge shared by his many kumu. His life work was committed to building an archive of the stories and music of Hawai‘i. This songbook ensures that songs shared with Eddie, and those he composed, can be played and sung by families, children, students, musicians, and lovers of Hawaiian music,” says Myrna Kamae, executive director of The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation. “We are so excited to share this gift!”

A launch event is scheduled for May 1, 2022, at The Royal Grove, Royal Hawaiian Center, from noon to 6 p.m. The program features the music of Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawaiʻi performed by Paul Kim, Analu Aina, Mike Kaawa, Ocean Kaowili and the Grandsons of Hawaiʻi, Waipuna, Waimānalo Sunset Band, and other guest artists kanikapila style (hoʻokani pila).

Available online, the songbook was produced by Eddie & Myrna Kamae’s The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation (HLF) in partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu and ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive. The songbook offers a new and interactive way for Hawaiian music listeners to access and learn about their favorite Hawaiian songs through a treasure trove of information.

“The Eddie Kamae Songbook” includes direct links to the descriptive catalog records and short streaming video clips in the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation: Eddie & Myrna Kamae collection on ‘Ulu‘ulu’s website. Researchers may contact ‘Ulu‘ulu to view full length digital footage from the collection.

Several UH West Oʻahu members participated in the production of the songbook. Kawena Komeiji, Hawaiʻi-Pacific Resources Librarian, was a songbook reviewer and gave feedback on the design, curriculum, mele translation; Curriculum Specialist Lilinoe Andrews wrote and researched the text, and updated the song translations; ‘Ulu‘ulu’s staff contributed to this project, especially Haunani Haia, HLF Archives Project Assistant; and Associate Professor of Music Jon Magnussen reviewed the songbook. UH Mānoa Librarian and archivist Kapena Shim was a member of the Hui Hana songbook team along with Myrna Kamae and Andrews.

Each song is presented as a pū‘olo (bundle) that contains sheet music, lyrics and translations, audio and video recordings of Eddie and fellow musicians, the story of the song, educational questions, a bibliography, and many print resources from the Kamae archive. Written with children and families in mind, the songbook is a source of curriculum across disciplines in schools and at homes and a foundation for the music, stories, and aloha to live on.

Eddie Kamae and The Sons of Hawaiʻi were pioneers in the Hawaiian music renaissance. Through his band, The Sons of Hawai‘i, and his non-profit, The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, Eddie and his wife Myrna devoted their lives to preserve the music and culture of Hawaiʻi for generations to come.

Eddie passed away in 2017 at the age of 89, leaving an entire library of music and materials celebrating the culture of Hawaiʻi, including 10 films that continue to be broadcast on PBS Hawaiʻi.

The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation is devoted to preserving Hawaiʻi’s deep culture for future generations of musicians, scholars, and learners alike. The songbook is part of the ongoing focus of finishing Eddie and Myrna’s work so that the music and aloha of Hawaiʻi can live on here in Hawaiʻi and around the world.