SEPTEMBER 21, 1999

HAWAIIAN FALSETTO SINGER BENNY KALAMA DIED

Born June 29, 1916, on the Big Island, Hawai’i, Benny, in addition to being a famed falsetto singer, was also an arranger, composer, musician and recording artist.  He played ukulele, bass guitar, and steel guitar.  In the 1930s, Benny started his musical career with Leonard “Red” Hawk and The Waikikians.  From there, he joined Don McDiarmid’s Band.  In 1955, Benny began working with musician Alfred Apaka in Las Vegas and remained his musical arranger until Apaka’s death.  In the 1950s, he also became the musical director of the “Hawaii Calls” Radio program and was director for 22 years.  Benny was inducted into the Hawaiian Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1974.  His albums include Around the Islands In 80 Shakes and Somewhere in Hawaii Ed Kennedy Sings.  The Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts awarded Kalama the 1993 Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award for his substantial contributions to the entertainment industry in Hawaii.  Benny passed away in Honolulu.

Source:  “Kalama, Benjamin Kapena: Performer Biography,” Hawaiian Music Collection.  Retrieved 7/14/2019,  https://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/music/Pages/syllabus.php?route=courses.php&course=36
Photo:  Author and date unknown.  Source: “Hawaii Calls,” Ho’olohe Hou, 11/25/2014, http://hwnmusiclives.libsyn.com/hawaii-calls-benny-kalama-1  Fair Use:  Used for non-commercial/educational purposes only and only to identify the subject.  The author is unknown and the subject is deceased.  There is no publicly available alternative.

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