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Keola Beamer

Biography

First off, Keola Beamer just has a great name. Check it out: Keolamaikalani Breckenridge Beamer. It's gorgeous. But that's not why Beamer's famous; he's actually one of Hawaii's best-known and most prolific artists, and a member of one of Hawaii's oldest musical families. His great-grandmother was singer-songwriter Helen Desha Beamer, a renowned soprano who composed original songs in Hawaiian and was also known as a hula dancer of great skill. His mother, Winona Kapuailohia Beamer, is a known chanter, composer and author who's devoted her life to the study and preservation of Hawaiian culture. Keola himself grew up providing guitar accompaniment for his mother's dance groups before going on to study classical guitar and publish the first modern method book on Hawaiian slack-key guitar playing. He released his signature album, Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar in the Real Old Style, in 1972, and embarked on a career that's explored every realm since, from pop to traditional Hawaiian music. Perhaps his best-known work -- and one of the top-selling Hawaiian singles of all time -- was 1978's Honolulu City Lights. In recent years, Beamer has done everything from a solo guitar album to an inspired collaboration with the renowned Native American flautist R. Carlos Nakai.
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