Every May, the island music scene is abuzz with the excitement of the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards that are presented by the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) on O'ahu. Fly to Honolulu around the third weekend in May and you are likely to see the bright lights of island music trekking over to garner another award, or the rising stars making the pilgrimage in the hopes of winning their first one. It's like the Grammys: You can see lots of great performers and a showcase of performances all in one grand evening!
But not all of us can fly over for the festivities. That's where the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (The MACC) steps in to help bring the best of the islands (and the world) to Maui. As soon as the awards are announced, MACC programmers intercede for the Maui audience and try to book as many of the award-winners as can make for it for one beautiful concert in one beautiful venue.
This year, the third annual Na Hoku Hou! concerts at The MACC will take place on Saturday, July 13. The lineup is stellar, with both familiar favorites and brand new names.
Maui’s own Amy Hanaiali‘i won two Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards this year, bringing her grand total of awards to 21!
Melveen Leed is a grande dame of island music, covering the genres of country and jazz as well as Hawaiian music. Besides her own solo career, you may have heard her perform with the Local Divas (Carole Kai, Loyal Garner and Nohelani Cypriano). It is always a treat to welcome this former Miss Molokai to the stage!
Maui's own Amy Hanaiali'i won two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards this year, bringing her grand total of awards to 21! This alumna of Baldwin High School and the Maui Academy of Performing Arts has also been nominated for several Grammy Awards, and is one of Hawai'i's top-selling female vocalists. Amy was raised in a family where music and performing arts were both passion and tradition. Her grandmother, Jennie Napua-Woodd, was a renowned Hawaiian choreographer, and her grandfather, Lloyd Gilliom, played swing music. Amy has become especially well known for her vocal skills in female ha'i (Hawaiian falsetto singing), tutored by the beloved Aunty Genoa Keawe.
Na Hoa, comprised of Ikaika Blackburn (again, Maui's own!), Halehaku Seabury and Keoni Souza, was the big winner at this year's award ceremony, bringing in four awards for their debut release "Na Hoa." They won Most Promising Artist, Album of the Year, Hawaiian Music Album of the Year and Group of the Year. The music has been described as, "Sweet falsetto singing depicting a nostalgic era in Hawaiian music history, with vibrant voices that captivate one's emotions, ears and heart."
Kamakakehau Fernandez, a new name on the circuit, has already gathered a following. His release won the Na Hoku for best Extended Play (EP) of the Year. Kamaka's education played a huge part in his love and appreciation for the Hawaiian culture and music. Yet another Maui talent (we are so blessed on this island) is a graduate of the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program at Kula Kaiapuni and King Kekaulike High School. As he studied Hawaiian culture and language, he became enamored with the 'ukulele and the art of leo ki'eki'e (falsetto) singing. This is an artist to watch!
Mana'o Company won the award for Anthology of the Year for their collection of "Twenty Years of Mana'o Company." You can tell by the title that this band carries some history--a long period of time together and time apart--but still carrying the torch for contemporary Hawaiian music like their hits "Drop Baby Drop" and "96 Degrees in the Shade."
Come to The MACC on Saturday, July 13, to celebrate the year's musical "Best-in-Hawai'i" with winners from this year's Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. You can be assured of a wonderful evening with the bright stars of Hawaiian music under the moonlight in Yokouchi Pavilion!
Tickets are $25 for standard seats, $45 for reserved table seating and $75 for an exclusive VIP package.