The passing of a legend: Auntie Genoa Keawe, 89

Aue ka hala 'ana o kahi hulu kupuna o kakou, he leo kaulana a nahenahe.

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Comment by Ku'ulani Miyashiro on March 3, 2008 at 11:26pm
aloha nui wau ia 'oe, e 'anake genoa. aunty genoa is my kupuna wahine's cousin, on the adolpho side. she will be missed, as she touched and blessed (and continues to) so many lives! aloha aunty genoa.
Comment by ʻOhukaniʻōhiʻa on February 25, 2008 at 6:36pm
Ha'o nui keia no ke anake leo kiekie, leo ko loa.
Comment by Pono Kealoha on February 25, 2008 at 3:06pm
Comment by Pono Kealoha on February 25, 2008 at 2:58pm
Posted on: Monday, February 25, 2008 11:26 AM HST
"Aunty" Genoa Keawe dies
The 89-year-old Hawaiian music legend died at home
John Berger

Genoa Keawe, the foremost female Hawaiian falsetto singer of the second half of the 20th century died this morning at her home in Papakolea, according to her family.
She was 89.

Keawe had been in failing health for several weeks.

Born Genoa Leilani Adolpho on Halloween, Oct. 31, 1918, she married Edward P. Keawe-Aiko in 1935. She performed as “Genoa Keawe” because her husband wasn’t sure at first that it was appropriate for his wife to be performing in bars and nightclubs, and she continued to use the shortened version of the name for the rest of her life.

Keawe made her first recordings for 49th State Hawaii Records in 1946. She subsequently recorded for Hula Records before she founded her own label, Genoa Keawe Records in the mid-1960s.

Keawe’s command of Hawaiian falsetto singing -- particularly her use of ha‘i (the technique of emphasizing the break between her upper and lower vocal registers) made her the inspiration for several generations of female falsetto singers. Her ability to simultaneously inhale and sing was the key to hold a single note seemingly forever when she sang “‘Alika,” the song that was known for decades as her musical signature.

Keawe was a 1980 recipient of the Sidney Grayson Award (the predecessor of the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award) and became the second living inductee into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

She also won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for “Hula Hou” in 1995.

Keawe celebrated her 89th birthday with two days of public performances at the Ala Moana Hotel and the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, and continued to perform each Thursday at the Marriott until, finally, she had to take a break.

Keawe is survived by three of her 12 children, Gary Keawe-Aiko, Eli Kaeo Paalua and Eric Keawe, 40 grand children, 98 great-grand children and 81 great-great-grand children. The ohana also included two hanai daughters, Suzie Harrison and Roberta Silva.

Service arrangements will be made by Borthwick Mortuary. Services will be conducted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

A date has not been set.

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