Hawaii music legend Mahi Beamer dies

Hawaii Musical Legend, Mahi Beamer, Dies
Published: Jul. 14, 2017 at 7:39 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 14, 2017 at 11:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaiian music community is in mourning after the passing of one of its greats -- Mahi Beamer.

Edwin Mahiai Copp Beamer will forever be known as one of the premier falsetto voices Hawaii has ever produced. His reputation and talents covered it all --- singer, dancer, composer, pianist, Hawaiian scholar and entertainer extraordinaire.

"He's a huge miss. Very huge miss," said singer and friend Marlene Sai.

Beamer died Friday, two days after collapsing at his brother's funeral. He was 88.

Beamer's musical legacy began soon after birth. His grandmother was famed musician and composer -- Helen Desha Beamer. His father, taught him to play the piano when he was just three years old.

One of Mahi's finest achievements is the translation of his grandmother's compositions, from the Hawaiian language to English, thus sharing with the world an insight into the incomparable Hawaiian poetic expression.

"Oh, its a very huge loss. You take a look at the beamer family, their contributions through the decades, through the years." Sai said, "From his heart, to his fingers, to the piano, comes out the voice you know."

According to the family, in 1991 Mahi received a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. Mahi was again honored in 1992 with a State of Hawaii Certificate recognizing him as the steward of his grandmother's music and "the leader in the dissemination and perpetuation of the cultural legacy of Helen Desha Beamer."

Beamer was raised in Kaimuki and Alewa Heights before graduating from Kamehameha Schools. He attended Julliard School of Music in 1949 and served in the US Army, stationed at Schofield Barracks.

Marlene Sai remembers Beamer as a mentor .. but says he was much more than that, his generosity something many who knew him will always cherish.

"Whenever I did my recordings and I wanted to do a beamer song, if you will, Mahiai, I'd call him and he'd say sure. And we'd sit down go through the song." Sai said.

Mahi performed for years at Hawaii's top venues and his music is known all over the world.

He's survived by his sister -- Helen "Sunbeam" Beamer. Funeral services are pending.

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