NOVEMBER 28, 1897


John Celestino Almeida Jr. was born in the Pauoa Valley on the island of Oʻahu.  Blind by age 10, he moved to Wai’nae where Paulo Kameaaloha became his hānai (traditional) father.  Paulo taught him ancient chants and traditional songs.  At age 15, John started the Òwai’anae Star Glee Club which evolved into “Johnny Almeida’s Hawaiians.”  He performed at Queen Lili’uokalani‘s funeral in 1917.  By age 25, John had mastered the ukelele, steel guitar, violin, banjo, bass, saxophone, and piano.  He was the chief musician on Matson Lines ships from 1922 to 1927 and performed on the Hawaii Calls radio show.  He is credited with composing over 300 songs, including Iesu Me Ke Kanaka Waiwai.  Almeida was also instrumental in launching the careers of falsetto virtuosos Joe Keawe and Bill Ali’iloa Lincoln, as well as Hawaii steel guitar legends Billy Hew Len and David Keli’i.  Almeida died on October 9, 1985. He is buried at Hawaiian Memorial Park.

Source:  "John Almeida, Hawaiian Music Composer, Dies," Honolulu Star-Bulletin at, 10/11/1985.  Retrieved 7/21/2019,
Photo:  Author unknown.  Date likely 1918-1930.  Source:  .   Possibly Public Domain in the US:  Pre-1/1/1925.  Likely Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years.  Also, Fair Use:  This is being used for non-commercial and educational purposes only.   Further Fair Use justification provided upon request.  The author is unknown and the subject is deceased.  The photograph is used simply to identify the subject.  No other publicly available photographs of the deceased exist.  There is no diminishment in its value by this use.

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