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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 6:44 p.m., Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Eddie Kamae chosen for National Heritage Fellowship

Advertiser Staff

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2007 recipients of the National Heritage Fellowships, the country's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Among this year's recipients is Eddie Kamae, a Hawaiian musician, composer, and filmmaker from Honolulu.

Kamae was raised in Honolulu and Lahaina, Maui within a family steeped in Hawaiian tradition. His grandmother was a court dancer during the reign of King Kalakaua.

Early in his career, he was known for his mastery of the ukulele. In 1949, he toured the U.S. mainland as a member of Ray Kinney's Hawaiian Revue.

Kamae became a key figure in the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, founding the influential band The Sons of Hawai'i. The band, while garnering a broad audience, became known for the authenticity of its feeling and the unique repertoire, much of which was based on Kamae's deep interest in tradition.

In 1974, he helped produce the landmark album Music of Hawai'i part of the National Geographic Music of the World series.

During the 1980s, Kamae took up filmmaking to document and preserve authentic Hawaiian cultural continuity.

Twelve fellowships, which include a one-time award of $20,000 each, were presented to honorees from nine states at an awards ceremony and concert held in Washington, D.C. on June 29th. The concert was part of the NEA's 25th anniversary celebration of the program.