Helen Desha Beamer

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Helen Desha Beamer
Helen Desha Beamer.jpg
Background information
Birth name Helen Kapuailohia Desha
Born (1882-09-08)September 8, 1882
Honolulu, Kingdom of Hawaii
Died September 25, 1952(1952-09-25) (aged 70)
Genres Hawaiian
Occupations Singer, musician, composer
Instruments Vocals, Piano

Helen Desha Beamer (1882–1952) was a coloratura soprano of Hawaiian ancestry. She was a musician, hula dancer and composer of songs in the Hawaiian language. Her descendents have also become accomplished artists in the U.S. state of Hawaii. In 1928, her duet of the Hawaiian Wedding Song with Sam Kapu on Columbia Records was the first commercial recording of the Charles E. King composition . She was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1995.

Early life[edit]

Helen Kapuailohia Desha was born on September 9, 1882, in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Her parents were George Langhern Desha and Isabella Hale'ala Desha. Her mother taught her the hula, but she was self-taught in music. Helen was a graduate of Kamehameha School for Girls, where the school's music director noted her talent as a pianist and as a song composer.[1] Kamehameha Schools was established by the estate of Bernice Pauahi Bishop to provide education for children of Hawaiian ancestry.[2]

She was also the organist at Haili Church in Hilo.[3]

Professional career[edit]

She had a coloratura soprano range and was a recording artist for Columbia Records. In 1928, she and artist Sam Kapu made the first commercial recording of the Hawaiian Wedding Song, which had been written by composer Charles E. King as "Ke Kali Nei Au".[1][3] She was the composer of numerous songs in the Hawaiian language that are still being recorded by contemporary Hawaiian artists.[4]

Personal life and legacy[edit]

Helen Desha married Peter Carl Beamer of Hilo. The couple had five children. She was the matriarch of a musical dynasty that includes her grandson, falsetto singer Mahi Beamer, who was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2006; granddaughter Winona (Nona) Beamer; and Nona Beamer's two sons, Keola and Kapono.[5] She died in 1952 and is buried at Homelani Memorial Park in Hilo.[6]

In 1995, she was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.[1]

Compositions (partial list)[edit]

Source: allmusic[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Helen Desha Beamer". Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ Peterson, Gary W.; Steinmetz, Suzanne (2003). Pioneering Paths in the Study of Families: The Lives and Careers of Family Scholars. Routledge. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7890-2089-5. 
  3. ^ a b "Bio Helen Kapuailohia Desha Beamer". Kbeamer.com. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Credits for Helen Desha Beamer". allmusic.com. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ "About Helen Beamer". Hawaiian Music History. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ Helen Desha Beamer at Find a Grave