The life of Madeline Kaululehuaohaili Lam is, itself, a treasure trove of the "Golden Era of Hawaiian Music", when the hotel showrooms and nightclubs of Waikiki rang with the sounds of famous bands, trios and now-cherished Hawaiian entertainers and musicians.
From 1930 through 1980, Maddy Lam established herself as a composer-lyricist, arranger-director, producer, pianist and singer. The roots of her long career were planted and nourished in childhood; Hawaiian music was important in Maddy's home when she was growing up.
Like so many other Hawaiian musical performers, she and her brothers were taught the language, the culture of the land, and love and respect for God, nature and her fellow man through Hawaiian music. Maddy's mother composed little songs for the children to sing; her father taught Maddy and her brothers to play the `ukulele so that they could accompany themselves. As they grew up, they learned the traditional Hawaiian songs already beloved by their elders.
For fifty years, from 1930 to 1980, Maddy Lam led a varied musical career. She sang with a number of girls' glee clubs, the best known of which is probably "Cissy Lake's Singers" (Maddy, Lei Collins and Julia Doyle). They were called on to entertain Hawaiian royalty from Queen Lili`uokalani to Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, and such well-known kama`aina as Francis I`i Brown, the Walter Dillinghams, Governor Joseph Farrington, Doris Duke Cromwell and dignitaries from all over the world.
She was a soloist with Alfred Apaka on the radio show "N.B.C. Across the Sea", and later under Webley Edwards when he started the famous "Hawai`i Calls" broadcasts from the Banyan Court of the Moana Hotel in Waikiki. As versatile a musician as she was popular, Maddy also taught both piano and hula in private classes.
Many who visited the famous old Halekulani Hotel from 1967 until it was closed down to make room for the beautiful and modern hostelry which stands today, will recall Maddy as the dinner-hour pianist, but Maddy's rich legacy to us and to future generations is, however, the songs she composed.
Maddy Lam's best -known songs, and standards today, are "Singing Bamboo" and "Maile Lei". With Mary Kawena Pukui she wrote "Pua `Ahihi", "Ka Lehua Imilia", "Hanauma" and some twenty-five others which were hits. She composed "Kealoha" with Lei Collins. It can be said that Maddy Lam truly represented the richest modern era of Hawai`i's music culture.