Mark Yamanaka, an A-list Hawaiian artist since his solo debut album, "Lei Pua Kenikeni," won Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year in 2011, is this year’s front-runner with a pace-setting 10 nominations in 10 categories as the Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) announces the finalists in 32 categories for the 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
37th ANNUAL NA HOKU HANOHANO AWARDS
Presented by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts
>> Where: Kalakaua Ballroom, Hawai’i Convention Center, 1801 Kalakaua Ave.
>> When: 5 p.m. May 24
>> Info: (808) 593-9424, nahokuhanohano.org
>> Note: Ticket prices are not yet available
Kupaoa, the duo of Kellen Paik and Kalikolihau Hannahs Paik, is a close second with nine nominations in nice categories; Kalikolihau Paik is also a finalist in two categories for composers, Song of the Year and Haku Mele, for "Lei Maile," a first-time recorded song co-written with Yamanaka.
Kuana Torres Kahele is third with eight nominations in eight categories. Waipuna – the trio of Kale Hannahs, Matthew Kawaiola Sproat and David Kamakahi — is a finalist in seven categories.
Kahele and Yamanaka both finalists for Male Vocalist of the Year. The other finalists in that category are Ikaika Blackburn, Robert Cazimero and Kamaka Kukona. Kupaoa and Waipuna are joined by The Green, KuMZ and Na Leo as finalists for Group of the Year.
Blackburn, Kahele, Kupaoa and Yamanaka are also finalists for Album of the Year.
Win or lose, this is a big year for Kukona; it isn’t often that a new artist reaches one of the four biggest categories with their debut album. The evolution of HARA in becoming more open to locally recording music of all types, rather than favoring traditional Hawaiian music only, is seen in The Green being on the final ballot in a major category. Membership resistance to Jawaiian music in the 1990s resulted in a genre category for reggae not being created until 1999; based on the amount of Jawaiian music that was being released in the ’90s a reggae category could have been added as early as 1992.
The big change this year is the addition of a category for Alternative, separate from the existing category for Rock.
The winners will be announced at the 37th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on Saturday, May 24, at the Hawai’i Convention Center.
HARA membership will determine the winners in 28 categories. The winner of Favorite Entertainer is determined by public vote. Winners in the two Hawaiian language categories (Haku Mele and Hawaiian Language Performance) are selected by a panel of specialists in Hawaiian song writing. The winner in the Engineering category is selected by a panel of mainland studio engineers who do not work in the local recording industry.
The winner in the International Recognition Album category is also adjudicated. The criteria used in adjudicating that category and the qualifications of the adjudicators have not been made public.
For a complete list of nominees, go to Honolulu Pulse.