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Kaapana rides Grammy wave into Na Hokus

By John Berger

LAST UPDATED: 1:49 a.m. HST, Apr 19, 2011

Ledward Kaapana and Amy Hanaiali‘i and Slack Key Masters of Hawai‘i, two of this year's five Grammy finalists in the now-defunct best Hawaiian music album category, are again among the front-runners in the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts.


Where: Kalakaua Ballroom, Hawai‘i Convention Center
When: May 29
Cost: $150 general admission, $135 “kama‘aina” w/ID, $125 HARA members
Info: 593-9424,

Kaapana is a finalist in three categories, including male vocalist of the year. The sextet of Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom, Dennis Kamakahi, Elmer "Sonny" Lim Jr., Chino Montero, Cyril Pahinui and Jeff Peterson is a finalist in four categories. Peterson is also a finalist for song of the year, a category where the award goes to the composer rather than the recording artist.

Three Grammy nominees from previous years also were named finalists. Raiatea Helm and Keola Beamer, Grammy finalists as solo artists, are named in four categories for "Keola Beamer & Raiatea," a spin-off of an earlier Hoku Award-winning music video. Beamer is also up for song of the year for a solo effort.

Willie K, a Grammy finalist in 2005 for his duet album with Gilliom, is a finalist in three categories including male vocalist of the year.

The tallies could change when the finalists in the three technical categories — engineering, graphics and liner notes — are announced later.

Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts members determine the winners in 24 categories. The award for favorite entertainer is determined by public vote, with details of the voting process to be announced later. Winners in two Hawaiian-language categories are selected by a panel of specialists in Hawaiian songwriting.

The winners will be announced May 29 at the Hawaii Convention Center. For more information, call 593-9424 or go to

Here is a partial list of finalists (for a complete list, visit

Most promising artist

1. The Green, "The Green"

2. Heart & Soul, "Take it Easy"

3. CJ Helekahi, "Ka Mahina"

4. Michael Keale, "Remember"

5. Mark Yamanaka, "Lei Pua Kenikeni"

Female vocalist

1. ‘Anelaikalani, "E Mau No"

2. Kainani Kahaunaele, "Oha Ula"

3. Kiani, "Kiani"

4. Napua Makua, "Mohalu"

5. Sistah Robi, "An Island Christmas"

Male vocalist

1. Willie K, "Willie Wonderland"

2. Ledward Kaapana, "The Legend"

3. John Keawe, "Play with Me Papa"

4. Kenneth Makuakane, "Kawaipono"

5. Mark Yamanaka, "Lei Pua Kenikeni"


1. Keola Beamer & Raiatea Helm, "Keola Beamer & Raiatea"

2. Amy Hanaiali‘i and Slack Key Masters, "Amy Hanaiali‘i and Slack Key Masters of Hawai‘i"

3. Kumz, "On the Summit"

4. Kupaoa, "English Rose"

5. Manoa DNA, "Evolution"


1. "Amy Hanaiali‘i and Slack Key Masters of Hawai‘i," Amy Hanaiali‘i and Slack Key Masters of Hawai‘i

2. "The Best of Na Palapalai," Na Palapalai

3. "English Rose," Kupaoa

4. "Keola Beamer & Raiatea," Keola Beamer and Raiatea Helm

5. "Lei Pua Kenikeni," Mark Yamanaka

6. "Ohai Ula," Kainani Kahaunaele


1. "Eia Ke Aloha," Kainani Kahaunaele

2. "English Rose," Kellen Paik

3. "Kahealani," Jeff Peterson

4. "Kaleoonalani," Mark Yamanaka

5. "You Somebody," Keola Beamer


1. "Hawaiian Cowboy: Hailama Farden's Tribute to Uncle Sol K. Bright," Hailama Farden

2. "He Lei Kaulana," Na Palapalai

3. "Ka Lei Momi," Kenneth Makuakane and Joseph Keola Donaghy

4. "Moon Over Diamond Head," Bryan Kessler featuring Robi Kahakalau

5. "This Child," Kanohowailuku Helm

Contemporary album

1. "Evolution," Manoa DNA

2. "Forevermore," Ben Vegas and Maila Gibson

3. "Slackin' On Dylan," Stephen Inglis

4. "Take It Easy," Heart & Soul

5. "Vamonos De Fiesta — Let's Go Party," Rolando Sanchez

Hawaiian album

1. "Kawaipono," Kenneth Makuakane

2. "Lei Pua Kenikeni," Mark Yamanaka

3. "Mohalu," Napua Makua

4. "Ohai Ula," Kainani Kahaunaele

5. "On the Summit," Kumz

Favorite entertainer

(Public vote)

1. Amy Hanaiali‘i and Slack Key Masters

2. Troy Fernandez

3. Willie K

4. Ledward Kaapana

5. Kainani Kahaunaele

6. Keola Beamer & Raiatea Helm

7. Kupaoa

8. Napua Makua

9. Herb Ohta Jr.

10. Mark Yamanaka

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