Keola Beamer is one of Hawai’i’s premier singer/songwriters, arrangers, composers and Master Of The Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. His well of talent springs from five generations of Hawai’s most illustrious and beloved musical families. The Beamers trace their roots to the 14th century; among their ancestors are Queen Ahiakumai Ki’eki’e and Ho’olulu, a child of the favored wife of Kamehameha I.
Born in 1951, Keolamaikalani Breckenridge Beamer was raised in Kamuela, on the Big Island, surrounded by the beautiful open pastures of his Grandfather’s cattle ranch.
Keola established himself early on as the family’s youngest standard-bearer. A child of the rock and roll era, he has always been on the vanguard of the Hawaiian contemporary sound. However, he also helped drive what has come to be known today as the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance: he has recorded many of the songs written by his ancestors, from the lively Keawaiki to the lullaby Pupu Hinuhinu. He has recorded and produced more than twenty albums, winning numerous Hoku Awards, Hawai’i’s equivalent of the Grammies. He has even appeared on Sesame Street and on NBC’s “Today Show.” He is a Grammy Nominee and in 2010 received the “Lifetime Achievement” award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Keola was one of Hawai’i’s first recording artists to integrate Hawaiian chants and instruments, like the tiny gourd whistle and the nose flute, with contemporary forms of music. “A lot of musicians in the past treated the nose flute as a frame,” he says. “They played it at the beginning and the end of a piece. Through experimentation, I managed to integrate it into the piece. It has a gorgeous sound, a gorgeous texture.”