NATIVE HAWAIIAN COMPOSER COLORATURA SOPRANO HELEN DESHA BEAMER DIED
Born in Honolulu, Hawai’i, on September 8, 1882, her ancestors included Ahiakumai Ki’eki’e, Queen of the island of Hawai’i and daughter of Kameiamoku, the favored wife of Kamehameha I. Her love of music started at an early age and she became an accomplished musician, singer, and composer. Helen was gifted with a high, clear soprano of a coloratura range. She taught herself musical notation by copying reams of piano and vocal music. Her fluency in the Hawaiian language enabled her to compose lyrics which created vivid pictures of the places and people in her songs. She made several recordings for Columbia Records, including the first commercial recording of Ke Kali Nei Au (The Hawaiian Wedding Song). Beamer also taught the mele and hula of Hawai’i and shared her love of music which influenced her five children, all of whom became talented musicians, singers, composers, and dancers. Helen passed away in San Mateo, California. She was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1995.
Sources: “Beamer, Helen Desha: Composer Biography,” Hawaiian Music Collection. Retrieved 7/12/2019, https://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/music/Pages/syllabus.php?route=courses.php&course=28 Photo: Author and date unknown (likely prior to 1927). Likely Public Domain. If not Public Domain, then Fair Use.