Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023 |
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Some people are so special, just the sound of their voice can brighten your
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of these
people, such as Eddie and Myrna Kamae.
I look forward to the Hawai’i
International Film Festival every year because it means the Kamaes may be
calling to let me know they’ll be in town with their latest film
After years of admiring Eddie Kamae for his music, I was surprised
at first to hear he was making documentaries. But it took just one film to make
me see how perfectly the old and new careers complemented each other and to
appreciate what he – and Myrna – were trying to do.
“Hawaiian Legacy Series,” the Kamaes are preserving bits and pieces of
Hawai’i. Sometimes, the faces on film are familiar and well-loved, like the
legendary Gabby Pahinui or kumu hula Iolani Luahine.
But the most
fascinating and priceless footage in Eddie’s films are of people whose names
are relatively unknown but whose lives and lifestyles offer rare insight into
the Hawai’i many people never see.
Eddie Kamae has a talent for finding
these people. He has sought them out on every island and found them in peaceful
valleys, down dusty roads, on pristine beaches, in cool forests. He has sat
down with them and talked – and let them talk – about yesterday and those who
have gone before.
He has listened to their music and to their stories of
how their kupuna taught them and he has gently persuaded them to let their
stories be told, and more importantly, recorded for posterity.
films, viewers have learned how crucial it is to listen to the heartbeat of
Hawai’i’s forests. They have heard Hawai’i’s music and learned more about its
source. They have been treated to Ki Ho’alu performed by both recording stars
and those who could have easily have been stars had they so chosen.
have been wonderful profiles of unique people like Luther Makekau and Sam Li’a
as told by those who knew them. There have been magical musical moments with
people like Kaua’i’s Helena Maka Santos and poignant, touching moments with
people like Ni’ihau’s Malaki Kanahele.
And we have enjoyed them
Many of those who shared their stories have since passed on. For their
families, friends and fans, these films are invaluable.
Music is the common
thread woven through all of Kamae’s films. Standing at ease with his trademark
‘ukulele in his arms, Eddie softly, gently narrates his films, using music to
move things along.
In his latest film, the storyteller becomes part of the
story. “Sons of Hawai’i” shares the music and story of the group formed over 40
years ago by Eddie and three of his friends. The film shows how, although some
of the faces have changed over the years, the “Sons of Hawai’i” has persevered
and left a lasting legacy of its own to the people of Hawai’i.
will be at the Kaua’i Community College Performing Arts Center tomorrow night,
Tuesday, when their new film will be shown on Kaua’i. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
and early birds will be treated to a performance by “Sons” past and
Eddie Kamae once said he has many stories left to tell. I can’t
wait for the next one.
Rita De Silva can be reached at 245-3681 (Ext.
241) or e-mail [
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