Keauhou — the trio that swept the 2017 Hokus with wins in nine categories for its debut album — has nine nominations in eight categories for its second album, “I Ke Ko A Ke Ao.” Napua, who has been known at various times in her career as Napua Greig, Napua Makua and Napua Greig Nakasone, has nine nominations in eight categories for her most recent album, “Makawalu.”
Kamaka Kukona is a finalist in seven categories for “‘Ala Anuhea,” Kapena is a finalist in six for “Palena ‘Ole,” and Ho‘okena follows with five for “Ho‘okena 3.0.”
Ho‘okena, Kapena, Keauhou, Kukona and Napua are this year’s five finalists for album of the year. Ho‘okena, Kapena and Keauhou are joined by Kahulanui and the instrumental duo, Bryan Tolentino & Herb Ohta Jr., as group of the year finalists.
The final ballot of nominees was announced Wednesday. The winners will be announced during the 41st annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on May 19 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
All finalist tallies include technical award nominations that may go to other people: songwriters, liner notes writers, graphic arts designers and recording studio engineers. However, the Album of the Year award goes to the winning album’s producers as well as to the recording artist, and since Ho‘okena, Kapena and Keauhou were the producers of their albums, a win in that category would earn them two awards — one for their work as recording artists and a second for their work as producers.
Three changes have been made for 2018. A separate category was created for Hawaiian-language singles, and there are new categories for “metal” albums and music videos. The new category that separates heavy metal from other types of rock is an instant win for Gerald Gonsalves, the founder of Tin Idol Productions, as all five finalists are Tin Idol artists.
As in previous years, the HARA membership will determine the winners in 28 categories. Winners in the two Hawaiian-language categories (Haku Mele and Hawaiian Language Performance) and the two engineering categories (Engineering – General and Engineering – Hawaiian) are selected by panels of specialists.
The winner in the International Recognition Album category is also adjudicated. The criteria used in determining eligibility for the category, and the qualifications of the adjudicators, have not been made public.