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About Keola Beamer

“Keola Beamer’s [slack key] style is the best there is on the planet”, says Willie Nelson. Keola Beamer has breathed new life into slack key guitar music yet stays true to its deep Hawaiian roots. He is a Hawaiian legend: singer-songwriter, composer, guitar master, with an impeccable, gorgeous style that is featured on The Descendants soundtrack and his 17 CDs. Keola was one of the first to use Hawaiian slack key techniques to create contemporary music that is also at home on jazz or classical stages. His wife Moanalani Beamer joins Keola in performances with her beautiful hula and the exquisite sounds of traditional Hawaiian instruments.

Keola Beamerʻs well of talent springs from five generations of Hawaiʻi's most illustrious and beloved musical families. Keola's mother was revered Hawaiian cultural treasure, Aunty Nona Beamer. His great-grandmother was one of Hawaiʻi's most illustrious composers, Helen Desha Beamer. The Beamers trace their roots to royal families of the 14th century and have been cultural practitioners through generations.

Keola established himself early as a leader of the wave of contemporary Hawaiian music when he wrote the classic Honolulu City Lights - which is still one of the absolute all-time best selling recordings in the history of Hawaiian Music. Keola was also the author of the very first written instruction book for the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, published in 1972.


Please note that with Keola's supervision and direction, this site contains the best learning center and resources available for the Slack Key Guitar. Please see the menu on the upper right corner to begin your exploration. New material is added by Keola on a regular basis, so please feel free to check in as often as you would like.

Keola is a world-renowned Native Hawaiian Musician, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Multiple Grammy Award Nominee, Multiple Na Hoku Na Hanohano Award Winner (Hawaiian Grammys) Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellow. He is an Award Winning Author and Artistic Director of The Mohala Hou Foundation, which presents Aloha Music Camp. In January of 2018 Keola was appointed Board Chair of Aloha Kuamoʻo ʻĀina, a 501c3 non-profit formed for the protection and preservation of the Kuamoʻo Battlefield and Burial Grounds in Kona, Hawaii.

You will find information here on all of Keola's releases, his Aloha Music Camp, online lessons, tablature, instructional books & DVDs, humor, bio, family history, and much more.


The Latest Updates

October 9, 2019

Keola & Moanalani Beamer Kihei, Maui, Hawaii 2019

I'm really looking forward to playing a couple of concerts in Portland, Oregon and Kirkand, Washington. These will be with my hanai son, Jeff Peterson and my sweet wife, Moanalani.

If you have a chance, come by and say ALOHA!

Keola Beamer & Jeff Peterson with Moanalani Beamer
Mon, Oct 14, 2019, Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland OR
7:30 PM

Thurs, Oct 17, 2019, Kirkland Performing Arts Center, Kirkland WA
7:00 PM

August 20, 2019

On August 13 & 14, I played for the sold out Paul Simon shows at the Maui Arts And Cultural Center. Paul was so gracious, welcoming and kind. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. Towards the end of the night, Michael McDonald and I stood quietly backstage in total admiration of Pauls’ great work and amazing, multi-talented band. 

Keola Beamer Joins Paul Simon Onstage

August 5, 2019

Paul Simon is doing shows here on Maui at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, August 13 & 14. He’s asked me to play a song or two. What a wonderful honor to be on the same stage with such a great songwriter. Both his shows at the MACC sold out in the first six hours, so unfortunately there are no tickets left.

Paul Simon has requested that net proceeds from both shows be donated to the Auwahi Forest Restoration Project and Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA). These are two excellent non-profits.

June 24, 2019

Aloha Music Camp is presented every year by myself and The Mohala Hou Foundation. Registration for Aloha Music Camp 2020 on Kaua'i will open tomorrow June 25th, 2019. (12:00pm HST, 3:00pm Pacific, 6:00pm Eastern, or 11:00pm GMT) Space is limited so these registrations sell out quickly. I encourage my Haumana (Students) to please register early by clicking here.

June 1, 2019

Paul Simon & Keola Beamer, Maui, Hawaii 2019

Paul Simon came over to my house for dinner. It was a beautiful Maui evening with some nice wines, lots of talk story and aloha shared. Paul wrote “The Sound of Silence”, when he was 19 years old. Amazing!  I am so grateful for his incredible body of work and the warmth of his friendship.

May 7, 2019

Inducted into The Hawaiian Music Hall Of Fame

Beamer 'Ohana /  May 4, 2019

Last Saturday night I received the great honor of being inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall Of Fame, along with my mother - Nona Beamer (deceased) and my brother Kapono. It was a special evening filled with Aloha supported by family and friends and attended by many incredible artists and mentors of Hawai’i.

To celebrate this achievement my brother Kaliko uploaded my arrangement of Sweet Lei Mamo to our advanced realm. This is a sweetly melodic Charles Hopkins song written at the end of the 19th Century. I learned this from my dear mom.

Mamo is the safflower or false saffron from Asia. The yellow feather-like flowers were highly prized and loved by Hawaii’s people. This is in triple meter with its distinctive waltz feel and contains a modulation (change of key) element within the form

Triple meter is rare in Hawaiian Music, so if you are looking for a refreshing rhythmical change of pace (plus a modulation!) check out ADV-21: Sweet Lei Mamo. 

April 29, 2019

Nawang Khechog, Keola Beamer, His Holness - The Dalai Lama

It was a great honor to perform last night on Maui with Nawang Khechog, the master flute player from Tibet. This was truly an evening to remember with Nawang at the height of his craft as he exhibited a  beautiful and masterful performance. In a piece we did together, the aloha and spirituality of both of our cultures felt like it was shimmering with light. It was a superlative evening of ethereal music on the most beautiful Island on the planet.

March 20, 2019

2019 Aloha Music Camp 'Ilio Nui (Big Dogs)

We had such a fabulous time at Aloha Music Camp! Our programs worked exceptionally well. I had an awesome Advanced Slack Key Guitar Class with so many great players, all of them playing with both sensitivity and aloha. Together, we learned a lot and had a great deal of fun. The week absolutely flew by. I'm going to miss these Haumana.

February 10, 2019

I am so looking forward to our upcoming Aloha Music Camp - March 3 - 9 on the beautiful Island of Kaua'i at the Mariott Coconut Beach Resort.  This is our 18th year of operation. (I've lost track of how many camps we've actually conducted over that period of time!) Recently I've been designing lesson plans and speaking with our Kumu. It's fun checking in with 'Ohana and getting up to speed with our operations. I am so grateful for the efforts of our Staff and Board Of Directors who somehow excel in their duties year after year. It just keeps getting better!

Me Ke Aloha,

Keola

November 2, 2018 

We had a amazing time on tour and I really enjoyed the venues we performed at. Moana and I love Maui, so no matter where we are in the world, its always a blessing to return home. Here is a photo of sound check at one of my most favorite venues - The Harris Center For The Arts in Folsom, CA. My hanai son, Jeff Peterson took this photo. Jeff was with us on this tour and played beautifully. What an exceptional talent he is!

October 3, 2018 

Aloha Kakou,
I’m really looking forward to touring this month with one of the finest guitarists on the planet - Jeff Peterson. Jeff, myself and my beautiful Kumu Hula wife Moanalani will be at the following venues this month. Come by and say aloha!

Tour Schedule
Keola Beamer & Jeff Peterson with Moanalani Beamer
Mon, Oct 8, 2018, The Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene OR
Arts Northwest Juried Showcase – Arts NW Attendees Only

Tues, Oct 9, 2018, Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland OR

8:00 PM

Sun, Oct 14, 2018, Columbia City Theater, Seattle WA
Presented by Brown Rock LLC
2 Shows –

4 PM and 7 PM

Thurs, Oct 18, 2018, Harris Center for the Arts, Folsom CA
7:30 PM

Sat, Oct 20, 2018, The Old Steeple, Ferndale CA
Presented by Ferndale Music Company

7:30 PM

Sun, Oct 21, 2018, Blue Note Napa, Napa CA
6:00 PM

Wed, Oct 24, 2018, Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix AZ
7:00 PM

Fri, Oct 26, 2018, Daniels Hall, Denver CO
Presented by Swallow Hill Music
8:00 PM

September 27, 2018 

Aloha Kakou,

Its been a truly interesting month! We had two major concerts cancelled because of Hurricane /Tropical Storm Lane’s arrival in Hawai’i. Eventually shows with Henry Kapono and Friends were re-scheduled at the Tom Moffatt - Waikiki Shell and again at The Maui Arts And Cultural Center Amphitheater on my home Island of Maui. It was great fun working with musical artists that I have known and loved through the years, and a joy to be included in such great company.

On the night of September 22nd, 2018 Henry Kapono, myself and my sweet wife - Moana then did a benefit for the Institute for Human Services 40th Anniversary Celebration held on the Hilton Hawaiian Village Great Lawn in Waikiki. Many of IHS contributors were there that evening sharing their aloha and mana’o on the best ways to support Hawai’i’s homeless population.

The photo above is of myself and wonderful singer Starr Kalāhiki (2015 Native Arts & Cultures Fellow) who opened the IHS celebration. Starr has a beautiful leo (voice). For more information and ways to help Hawai’i’s Homeless, please visit;

Institute for Human Services

with aloha,
Keola

August 29, 2018 

Its been a very challenging time in our home town of Lahaina, Maui, Hawai’i. A raging brush fire swept across the hillsides early Friday, fanned by 70 mph gusts from Hurricane Lane. The inferno burned 2,000 acres and claimed 30 vehicles and 21 structures, most of them homes. Our aloha and strong support goes out to our neighbors and friends, some of whom have lost everything. If you'd care to make a donation to help our displaced families, please go to the Lahaina Strong Facebook Page. Mahalo nui, Keola Beamer

August 10, 2018 

I have just returned from Pa’aoao Bay, Captain Cook, Hawai’i where I chaired a board meeting for our 501c3 - Aloha Kuamo’o Aina. Participants from left to right were myself, Dr. Kamanamaikalani Beamer -University of Hawaii, Manoa (Executive Director), Neil Kaho’okele Hannahs - CEO Ho’okele Strategies and Dr. Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwoʻole Osorio, Dean of Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. It is an accomplished and experienced board with strong ties to community.

It was great to be with old friends and fellow Kamehameha Schools graduates as we worked to protect and preserve the Kuamo’o Battlefield and Burial Grounds. This wahi pana (sacred place) is revered in the hearts of Hawai’i’s people.

With Hurricane Hector passing south of Hawai’i Island that night (8/9/18), the skies were aglow with the promise of the future.

With Aloha,
Keola

July 17, 2018 


Hawaii’s people revere the Fire Goddess Pele. She is resplendent in our art and literature. Tutu Pele goes where she wants to go and nothing can stop her.

I am filled with aloha for our extended ‘ohana on Hawaii Island who have lost their houses to the recent eruptions. As of this date, about 700 homes have been destroyed. The impact on our Island community has been devastating, with no end in sight.

Because they were built in lava zones, most of those structures were not insured and many of our now homeless people are retired and on a fixed income. Can you imagine what it must be like to loose everything so late in life? Where does one even begin to rebuild? Where does one even start? Its a very difficult situation for our families. Won’t you join me in making a contribution to help?

The Hawaii Community Foundation, together with Anderson-Beck Fund, Jack’s Fund and the Darrin & Darien Gee Family Fund, have established the Hawaii Island Volcano Recovery Fund to assist with recovery efforts in support of Hawaii Island communities affected by the Kilauea volcano eruption. Donations to the Hawaii Island Volcano Recovery Fund can be made online or by mail at Hawaii Community Foundation, 827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

Mahalo Nui - Keola Beamer

June 11, 2018 

Its going to be a wonderful summer here on Maui. My wife Moanalani will be leaving soon to Rapanui for a cultural exchange program with`Ohana of Halau Nā Hanona Kūlike` O Pi`ilani, while I will be off the waters of Lahaina in my fishing kayak catching mahimahi, drinking beer and jamming with my friends! Yay! For my excellent slack key haumana, we've just added a fun double-slack piece of mine called "Wa'apa". Check it out!

April 13, 2018 

Moanalani and I are headed to Taos, New Mexico to the Taos Environmental Film Festival to receive an award for Dr. Tom Vendetti's wonderful film, "Tibetan Illusion Destroyer". I was privileged to record the music in Kathmandu with some great local musicians. One of my goals in the composition was to honor their native instruments and musical traditions. Moana will open the festival with an oli (chant) and Hawaiian blessing.

April 9, 2018 

REGISTRATION FOR ALOHA MUSIC CAMP 2019 WILL OPEN ON MONDAY, APRIL 16TH!
Aloha to our patient and enthusiastic AMCers! Thank you for your interest in registering for AMC 2019, to be held March 3rd-9th, 2019 at the Courtyard by Marriott Kauai at Coconut Beach. Our online registration system will go live on Monday, April 16th, 2018 starting at 11 AM Hawaii Standard Time (2 PM Pacific Daylight Time/3 PM Mountain Daylight Time/4 PM Central Daylight Time/5 PM Eastern Daylight Time).

March 25, 2018 

At 4:01 AM this morning, my awesome brother - Kaliko Beamer Trapp of University Of Hawaii / Hilo completed a major upgrade of kbeamer.com with an improved UI that makes it easier for our friends and members to navigate. Awesome job Kaliko! I’m so proud of my my brother aka "The Midnight Menehune” and our 'ohana!

March 3, 2018 

My wife Moanalani and I have just returned from a tour in Japan. What a great time we had! Working with professional presenters and wonderful performing facilities, its a blast to perform in Japan. I note that I am also a big fan of Japanese cuisine and sake!

Slack Key Guitar is quickly growing in popularity and I had the opportunity to conduct a workshop with Japanese guitarists. I taught my piece, “Kalapaki” and haumana (students) learned it so well that they performed it the following night in concert. Their performance was lead by Makalani who is one of my absolute favorite Japanese Slack Key Artists in Japan. View their performance at Keola's Workshop Haumana In Japan.

Before Haneda, Japan concert with slack- key guitarist - Makanani

Keola with Haumana in Japan

Music truly bring people and cultures together. I am so very grateful for the journey of music in my life.

With Aloha,
Keola Beamer

February 14, 2018 

Aloha Music Camp Kumu & Staff February 2018

I had a wonderful week with our haumana at Aloha Music Camp 2018. It was a week of music, laughter, great food, fun and lots of aloha! The students in both my intermediate and advanced classes worked hard and both classes played great at our final performance night (Ho’ike). Speaking for all our kumu, we are so blessed to have wonderful participants.

Keolaʻs Advanced Class AMC 2018

We are currently finalizing the details of our upcoming March 2019 Camp at the Coconut Beach Marriott on Kauaʻi. We will notify all previous Campers via email before the registration form goes online. If you wish to add yourself to our mailing list, please send us a request via our Contact Us form. We will be sure to add you in!

Please note that AMC sells out quickly!

Keola Beamer

January 31, 2018 

Iʻve had a great time on tour with Henry Kapono and Moanalani. Weʻve had wonderful audiences and almost every date has been sold out. Along the way weʻve had two tour managers, Craig Law & Ben Crew, who have done a superb job, and dear Haumea Ho, who has been expertly handling the Merchandise. Moana and I extend our sincere mahalo to Henry and Lezlee and their keiki. Its been ʻohana on the road and we are blessed.

We conclude the tour tomorrow night Feb 1, 2018 at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, then we leave the next morning for my Aloha Music Camp on Kauaʻi. Its going to be a great week and I canʻt wait to see our kumu and many friends from around the world.

me ke aloha,
Keola Beamer

January 11, 2018 

Keola and Moanalani Beamer with Henry Kapono

We have kicked off the "Legends" tour in the US Mainland. Please visit the tour page for more information and to purchase tickets for the venues. We look forward to seeing you there!

image of keola beamer and henry kapono for the 2018 tour

January 2, 2018 

Happy New Year!

Recently, I participated in an interview with Heidi Chang of NPR (National Public Radio) discussing Gabby Pahinui, considered by many to be the “Father” of The Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. Talking story with Heidi bought back some wonderful memories of the times Gabby and I were drinking beer and playing music in Waikiki, way back in the day! NPR aired the interview on Jan 1, 2018. Check out “Remembering A Legendary Hawaiian Musician”.

Heidi Chang of NPR and Keola Beamer