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John Kameaaloha Almeida

The acknowledged dean of Hawaiian music, John Kameaaloha Almeida was the premier Polynesian composer of the 20th century, contributing myriad songs that are now island standards. Born November 28, 1897, in Honolulu's Pauoa Valley region, Almeida went blind at the age of ten. At the moment of his birth, his mother was alone, gathering flowers on the hillside, and with no time to wash the poisonous maile bush sap from her hands before delivering her child, she irrevocably damaged his eyesight. A longtime fixture of his church choir, Almeida assembled his own Waianae Star Glee Club at age 15. Later dubbed Johnny Almeida's Hawaiians, the group was a showcase for its leader's crystalline falsetto as well as his virtuoso mastery of the mandolin, ukelele, guitar, steel guitar, and piano. Beginning in 1922, Almeida served as the chief musician on Matson Lines cruise ships that sailed between Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast, and during the 1930s he hosted his own half-hour broadcast on Honolulu station KGU. The series was a launching pad for the 300-plus songs he wrote throughout the course of his career, among them now-standards including "Green Rose Hula," "Maile Swing," "Ku 'Uipo Pua Rose," and "Noho Paipai." Almeida was also an unerring barometer for new talent, discovering singers Bill Lincoln and Genoa Keawe as well as steel guitarists Billy Hew Wen and David Keli'i, and in addition he co-founded 49th State Records, the premier Hawaiian label of the postwar era. Almeida died in 1985; in 1998, he was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
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Very interesting biograohy.

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