Life of legendary slack-key guitarist is fondly remembered

dennis kamakahi memorial service

Friends and family gathered on Saturday to honor the life of legendary slack-key guitarist Dennis Kamakahi.

His memorial service — one that Kamakahi himself had planned during the last month of his life — was held at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Memorial Chapel on the Kamehameha Schools campus.

Kamakahi passed away back in April from lung cancer at the age of 61.

He was the first modern Hawaiian composer to have his six-string guitar accepted into the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

“There’s still songs that we’re singing, he still is influencing people,” said kahu Wendell Davis. “I have to say this is the quietest Dennis has been when we’ve been in the same room together,” he added, jokingly.

“What a lovely husband that we celebrate today, what a loving father that we celebrate today, what a loving brother, what a loving friend.”

The service was followed by a luau and hours of entertainment on the Great Lawn at Bishop Museum.

Kamakahi won a number of awards, including three Grammys, multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards, and he was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

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