Eddie Kamae’s legendary music, part of the fabric of Hawaiian culture and life, will live anew with the publication of “The Eddie Kamae Songbook: A Musical Journey.” An online compilation of 34 of Kamae’s beloved tunes will debut May 1 and will be free to the public utilizing a QR code.

Myrna Kamae, Eddie’s widow, through their Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, will unveil the songbook in a May Day (May 1) event from noon to 6 p.m. at the Royal Grove of the Royal Hawaiian Center. The publication will surely emerge as a valuable document of Kamae’s artistry. A career keiki o ka aina, Kamae led the Sounds of Hawaii group and was consistently a luminous but low-key pioneer in the renaissance of Hawaiian music. He was a prolific composer, musician and a rare film-maker. preserving the voice and the traditions of numerous integral and talented Hawaiians, till his death at age 89 on Jan. 7, 2017.

Years in the making, the songbook will evolve into a significant resource for current and future musicians of Hawaii and the world and provide lucid and enlightenment for the casual music fan.

“Eddie realized the importance of documenting the wealth of traditional knowledge shared by his many kumu,” said Myrna Kamae, who continues to be executive director of the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation. “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. We are so excited to share this gift!”

Myrna Kamae

Partners in the songbook launch include the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu and ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive .

Assembled and written with children and families in mind, each tune is presented as a pū‘olo (bundle) that contains sheet music, lyrics and translations, audio and video recordings of Kamae and fellow musicians, with enlightening details of the story behind the song, a bibliography, and archival print resources from the Kamae archives. It looms as s a resourceful curriculum across disciplines in schools and at homes and a valuable foundation for the music, stories and aloha to live on.

Besides a catalog of musical compositions, Kamae has a portfolio of 10 documentary films focusing on savvy elders he respected and wanted to perpetuate their legacies on video.

Attendees must abide by the Royal Hawaiian Center’s parking promotion, which includes three hours of free parking after spending $10.  The launch of the book is a highlight of the RHC’s May Day celebration and will feature music –kanikapila style — by Paul Kim, Analu Aina, Mike Kaawa, Ocean Kaowili and the Grandsons of Hawai‘i, Waipuna, Waimānalo Sunset Band, among others.

Panelists will include Chancellor Maenette Benham, University of Hawaii West O‘ahu; the Hui Hana songbook team of Myrna Kamae, Kapena Shim and Lilinoe Andrews, and a few special guests.

The launch will be livestreamed – a link will be forthcoming – and family, friends and guests will assemble to witness or participate in a program featuring the music of Kamae and the Sons of Hawaii, complete with hula and a panel presentation.


And that’s Show Biz. …


Though 50 years old, “Jesus Christ Superstar” still has relevance along with a dose of splendor,  without showing its old age.

Diamond Head Theatre’s revival, which opened Friday and continues through April 24, is a mix of the modern and  the traditional, embracing  the “rock opera” facet of theatrical genres, wholly sung as in an opera, not recited or spoken.

The show has a checkered history but has roots tied to a Honolulu singer-guitarist from Roosevelt High School, Yvonne Elliman, who became a global star first as the Mary Magdalene character on a concept album, then as the female centerpiece in the retelling of events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, initially in the breakout movie and then in the subsequent Broadway production. Till today, Elliman generally is the best known among the early “Superstar” performing circle.

DHT cast of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Photo by Brandon Miyagi

The DHT endeavor, directed and choregraphed  by John Rampage, DHT’s artistic director, has a trio of reliable lead troupers – Aleks Pevec as Jesus, Bailey Barnes as Mary, and Taj Gutierrez as Judas Iscariot – who make the show soar. They are all locals, with Pevec as the only one with Actors Equity Broadway creds, and his vocal prowess in delivery radiates and illuminates; and while only Gutierrez is a fanciful dancer, all three have logged previous local musical credits leading to this production.

Aleks Pevec

The tale, exploring the last seven days of Jesus’ life through the vision of Judas, one of his disciples, in an alternating love-hate/loyalty-betrayal relationship that includes notable conflicting sentiments and a peck-on-the-cheek by Judas to Jesus. Further, Judas sings a smidgin of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” regarding the crucifixion and complexities of friendship. The mix of Christianity and Judaism prevails, so yes, this one has an empowerful religious dose.

The score, by the eminent Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), includes several enduring hit songs (“Everything’s Alright” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” both delivered with warmth and expression by Barnes), and “Superstar” (led by Gutierrez and the ensemble). Pevec’s presence and power punctuate “What’s the Buzz,” “Hosanna,” “Gethsemane” and “The Temple,” showing off his pedigree, with able assistance from the ensemble.

Bailey Barnes

Larry Paxton, veteran DHT leading man, appears as the regal Pontius Pilate, the governor, sharing his grandeur through his voice but dons “period” robes.  Costumed in  Karen G. Wolfe’s eye-filling red creation, with one kimono-length left sleeve and a golden vest, perhaps makes a fashion statement as the  wardrobe “moment” in the show.

So you know in advance,  a pair of traditional gender-bending secondary male characters/roles are credibly portrayed by Aiko Schick (King Herod) and Jody Bill (Simon Zealotes).

Larry Paxton

Movement is frequent and varied here; early on, Rampage’s expansive choreography borrows from ballet and hip-hop and more, and he injects an element of vaudeville and Broadway late into the show, during the supposed dream elements of Judas’ Prince-like prancing in fringed sleeves, fronting a trio of “Dreamgirls” in sequined, showy gowns. Score yet another triumph for costumer Wolfe.

Roslyn Catracchia, musical director, makes her seven-member combo sound double its size, handling the pumped-rock tempos and more melodic numbers with equal gusto and flair; the climactic laments, matching the chants and chiming of the ensemble, are properly eerie and discomforting to fit the prevailing mood.

Dawn Oshima’s scaffolding centerpiece on the stage – a versatile decision for functionality and simplicity —  allows two stairways for entrances and exits, and two levels for performances that shape  and move both the crowd and solo moments of the show.

Performances continue Thursdays through Sundays, through April 24. Tickets: $15 to $35, at  or phone 808-733-0274. …

And that’s Show Biz. …