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JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM SPECIAL MOMENTS AT HOKU AWARDS | 1. Patrick Landeza, third from left, signed a copy of the 36th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards show program for Mark Yamanaka, second from left, while Yamanaka's wife, Leilani, and steel guitar master Greg Sardinha looked on during a break in the proceedings May 25 at the Hawai'i Convention Center. Landeza, a Native Hawaiian raised in California, made history when he became the first nonresident to win the Hoku for slack-key album of the year. Yamanaka made a little history himself in 2011 when he became the third Hawaii recording artist to win Hokus for album of the year, male vocalist and promising artist for his debut album.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 5. 93.9 Jamz morning deejay Kathy With A K, left, greeted Mailani Makainai and Kaui Dalire. She was working; they were there to celebrate the success of their friends in the recording industry. Count "Manawa," Makainai's recently released third solo album, as a major contender in several categories for next year's Hokus.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 4. Melveen Leed and her husband, Mike Reyes, left, caught up with Gary Aiko outside the ballroom. Aiko's performance with Zanuck Lindsey's group, Kapala, backing him was one of the musical highlights of the show. A duet with Leed, this year's Hoku winner in the jazz category, would have been a show-stopper.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 2. Puakea Nogelmeier, left, congratulated Waipuna -- David Kamakahi, Matt Sproat and Kale Hannahs -- after the trio received the award for single of the year during the untelevised dinner-hour presentations. All three members of the group are prior Hoku winners -- Kamakahi as a solo artist, Sproat as a member of Waipuna when it was a duo, and Hannahs as a member of Waipuna and previously as a member of 'Ale'a. Nogelmeier has earned multiple awards for his work as a songwriter and album annotator.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 3. Hoku award winners Jeff Rasmussen, left, and James Rubin, this year's winners in the religious album category, surveyed the crowd before the start of the program. Rasmussen won his first Hoku, for most promising artist, in 1990. It took 23 years but now he has two.