In a career finale that could have come straight from an old-time Hollywood movie, Jimmy Borges capped his 60 years as a professional entertainer by winning four times Saturday when the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts presented its 39th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
Borges’ self-titled album won album of the year, male vocalist of the year and jazz album of the year. Borges also won the Hoku for favorite entertainer of the year, which is the only category in which the winner is determined by public vote.
Borges’ Hoku wins filled in a blank spot on his resume. Although HARA gave Borges its lifetime achievement award in 2008, he had never won a Hoku. Borges’ only other album, “Honolulu Lady,” was released in 1991, several years before HARA created a category for jazz recordings, and it did not win in any other categories.
Borges was not there to accept the honors. He announced in December that he had terminal liver and lung cancer and had decided to forgo any further treatment. His wife, Vicki Bergeron Borges, and daughter, Steffanie Borges, accepted on his behalf.
Chad Takatsugi, already a multi-Hoku Award-winner as a member of ‘Ale‘a, tied Borges with four Hokus for “Ahuwale,” his first solo album. Takatsugi’s awards included both of the prestigious adjudicated awards for Hawaiian language use and Hawaiian song composition — Hawaiian Language Performance and Haku Mele.
Natalie Ai Kamaau kept her string of Hoku Award wins intact with three Hokus for her 2016 Grammy finalist-album “La La La La.” The awards included Kamauu’s fourth Hoku for female vocalist of the year and one for Dave Tucciarone for his work as her studio engineer.
Nathan Aweau, guitarist Jeff Peterson and Maunalua – the trio of “Uncle Bobby” Moderow, Kahi Kaonohi and Richard Gideon — won two awards each. Aweau, Peterson and Maunalua are all prior Hoku winners. Prior winners Brother Noland, Henry Kapono Ka‘aihue and John Cruz won Best EP for their group performance as the Rough Riders.
With the exception of Borges’ four wins the HARA voters consistently chose Hawaiian music and mainstream Hawaiian artists over other genres and artists. HARA’s current willingness to increase the number of non-Hawaiian genre categories has made it possible to recognize more fully excellence in the Hawaiian recording industry.
>> Female Vocalist of the Year: Natalie Ai Kamauu, “La La La La” (Keko)
>> Group of the Year : Maunalua, “He Inoa” (Lokahi)
>> Male Vocalist of the Year: Jimmy Borges, “Jimmy Borges” (Mountain Apple)
>> Album of the Year: “Jimmy Borges,” Jimmy Borges (Mountain Apple) Jon de Mello, producer
>> Most Promising Artist of the Year: Blayne Asing, “Young, Old Soul” (no label)
>> Single of the Year: “Shower Tree,” Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko)
>> EP (“Extended Play”) of the Year: “We Ride,” The Rough Riders (Rough Rider)
>> Song of the Year: “‘Aina Hanau” by Nathan Aweau from “‘Aina Hanau,” Nathan Aweau (Bass Plus Music Arts)
>> Instrumental Composition (Composer’s award): “Old Pali,” by Jeff Peterson, Jeff Peterson (Peterson)
>> Favorite Entertainer of the Year: Jimmy Borges
>> Alternative Album of the Year: “Beyond Paradise,” Streetlight Cadence (Streetlight Cadence)
>> Anthology Album of the Year (Producer’s award): “30,” Kapena (KDE) Kapena De Lima, producer
>> Christmas Album of the Year: “Gift Of The Heart, A,” Mark Yamanaka & Kūpaoa (Hulu Kupuna)
>> Comedy Album of the Year: “Electric Island,” Kepa Kruse (Petroglyph)
>> Compilation Album of the Year (Producer‘s award): “Aloha ‘Ia No ‘O Maui,” Institute of Hawaiian Music (no label) Keola Donaghy, producer
>> Contemporary Album of the Year: “Kimie Miner,” Kimie Miner (Kimie Miner)
>> Hawaiian Music Album of the Year: “Ahuwale,” Chad Takatsugi (Koops2)
>> Instrumental Album of the Year: “Pacific Harp Project,” Pacific Harp Project (Megan Bledsoe Ward)
>> Island Music Album of the Year: “‘Aina Hanau,” Nathan Aweau (Bass Plus Music Arts)
>> Jazz Album of the Year: “Jimmy Borges,” Jimmy Borges (Mountain Apple)
>> Music DVD of the Year: “Brother For The People – Official Music Video,” Taz Vegas (RSM)
>> R&B Album of the Year: “Live From Kauai,” Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band (Kuleana)
>> Religious Album of the Year: “Greater Together,” New Hope Oahu (NHO/Dream)
>> Rock Album of the Year: “Endangered Species,” Stuart Hollinger (Keala)
>> Slack Key Album of the Year: “O‘ahu,” Jeff Peterson (Peterson)
>> ‘Ukulele Album of the Year: “’Ukulele Friends,” Bryan Tolentino and Herb Ohta, Jr. (Neos)
>> Graphics: B. Kanai‘a Nakamura, for “He Inoa” by Maunalua (Lokahi)
>> Liner Notes Award: Chad Takatsugi and Keawe Lopes, for “Ahuwale” by Chad Takatsugi (Koops2)
>> Engineering – Hawaiian Music: Dave Tucciarone for “La La La La” by Natalie Ai Kamauu
>> Engineering – Non-Hawaiian Music: Pierre Grill for “Never Before” by Lou Armagno
>> Haku Mele Award (Composer’s award): “He Wehi No Pauahi” by Kahikina De Silva and Chad Takatsugi, from “Ahuwale,” Chad Takatsugi (Koops2)
>> Hawaiian Language Performance Award (Artist award): Chad Takatsugi, for “Ahuwale” (Koops2)
>> International Album Special Recognition Award: “Ukulele Splash,” Ryo Natoyama (Intense Music)