Categorized | Entertainment

Hoku awardees shine; Mailani, Willie K named best vocalists

By Kawehi Haug | Honolulu Advertiser Staff Writer

The 33rd annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards — Hawaii’s version of the Grammys for locally produced music — commenced Sunday night at the Hawaii Convention Center, with long-time industry favorites and newly beloved performers being recognized for their contributions to the local music scene.

Amy Hanaialii walked away this year with her 16th Na Hoku award for best album of the year, for her 2009 album “Friends and Family of Hawaii,” a collaborative album, which features duets with notable local male musicians such as Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Nathan Aweau, as well as a duet with country music star Willie Nelson.

“It’s such an honor to have even been nominated,” Hanaialii said. “Being nominated for a Hoku means as much to me as being nominated for a Grammy. This album means so much to me because I had the opportunity to work with so many talented men. It just has a great strong male presence about it. I just feel so honored.”

Hanaialii was nominated for five awards last night.

The biggest awards of the evening went to Mailani for female vocalist, Uncle Willie K for male vocalist, Jeff Peterson for slack key album of the year, Hookena for group of the year, and Uluwehi Guerrero for Hawaiian album of the year.

New-on-the-scene artist Anuhea got the prize for most promising new artist, as well as the award for best contemporary album, for her self-titled debut album.

“I feel especially honored because the Na Hokus are awarded by my musical peers, and to get the award for promising new artist makes me want to continue to do my best, and keep on keeping on,” Anuhea said.

Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro received two awards — for best instrumental album for “Live,” as well as the people’s choice award for favorite entertainer of the year.

The ceremony kicked off with a Hollywood-style red carpet event, which included all of the fanfare that is expected of an awards show — fast-paced interviews, style chatter (Kapulanakehau Tamure of Na Palapalai wore a dramatic Sig Zane dress with a regal flair) and plenty of flash photography.

The ceremony itself was a sold-out, black-tie affair, punctuated by shrieks of support from fans, friends and family members cheering their favorite artists.

This year’s ceremony for the first time was preceded by a four-day Hawaiian music festival, the Na Hoku O Hawaii Music Festival. Proceeds financed an upgrade to the television broadcast of the awards ceremony.

International recording artists Mick Fleetwood and Kenny Loggins were guests at the festival and performed at the awards ceremony — along with a long roster of award nominees, such as Mailani, Nesian Nine, Anuhea, Hanaialii, Hapa and Henry Kapono.

One of the highlights was a collaborative rendition of reggae artist Matisyahu’s peace anthem, “One Day,” performed with an Island twist by Shimabukuro, Fleetwood, Loggins and Hapa’s Barry Flanagan.

The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts awarded 20 Na Hōkū awards during the ceremony.

(Reach Kawehi Haug at

2010 Winners List

* Most promising artist:
Anuhea Jenkins, “Anuhea” (OneHawaii)

* Female vocalist of the year:
Mailani Makainai, “Mailani” (Mountain Apple)

* Male vocalist of the year:
Willie K, “Uncle Willie K Live from Mulligan’s on the Blue” (Maui Tribe)

* Group of the year:
Hookena, “Nani Mau Loa — Everlasting Beauty” (Hoomau)

* Album of the year (for artist and producer):
“Friends and Family of Hawaii,” Amy Hanaialii (Ua), Amy Hanaialii Gilliom and Matt Catingub, producers

* Song of the year (composers’ award):
“Polinahe,” Lorna Lim and Wailau Ryder, from “Polinahe,” Lorna Lim (Palm)

* Favorite entertainer:
Jake Shimabukuro

* Hawaiian album:
“Uluwehi Sings Na Mele Hula Aloha,” Uluwehi Guerrero (Kaulupono)

* Instrumental album:
“Live,” Jake Shimabukuro (Hitchhike)

* Reggae album:
“Ekolu Music II: Anthem,” Ekolu (Waiehu)

* Contemporary album:
“Anuhea,” Anuhea Jenkins (OneHawaii)

* R&B/hip-hop album:
“Before My Last Breath,” Ryan Hiraoka (Rubbah Slippah)

* Compilation album (producers’ award):
“‘Ike o na Kumu Hula (Insights of Hula Sources),” various artists (Lamaku Society), Tony Conjugacion and Pierre Grill, producers

* Jazz album:
“Girl Talk,” Hula Honeys (Ululoa)

* Haku mele (composers’ award):
“Hanohano Helumoa,” by Manu Boyd from “Nani Mau Loa — Everlasting Beauty,” Hookena (Hoomau)

* Hawaiian language performance:
Hookena, “Nani Mau Loa — Everlasting Beauty” (Hoomau)

* Anthology (producers’ award):
“A Bright Christmas,” Teresa Bright (Teresa Bright), Kit Ebersbach and D.J. Pratt, producers

* Music video/DVD:
“Raiatea Live!” Raiatea Helm (Raiatea Helm)

* Liner notes:
Uluwehi Guerrero for “Uluwehi Sings Na Mele Hula Aloha,” Uluwehi Guerrero (Kaulupono)

* Graphics:
Kuhao Zane for “Polinahe,” Lorna Lim (Palm)

* Engineering:
Gaylord Holomalia for “C&K,” Cecilio & Kapono (C&K)

* Slack-key album:
“Maui on My Mind,” Jeff Peterson (Peterson)

* Rock album:
“Acousti-Me,” Kona (LineKona)

* Island music album:
“E Kuuipo E Hula Mai Me Au,” Kuuipo Kumukahi (Ward)

* Religious album:
“Kulana,” Barrett Awai (Diamond Head Christian Records)

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