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Kainani Kahaunaele wins big at 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards; View the list of winners

                                Kainani Kahaunaele’s third album, “Waipunalei,” won seven awards in six categories at the 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
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Kainani Kahaunaele’s third album, “Waipunalei,” won seven awards in six categories at the 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Kainani Kahaunaele’s first album, “Nau Oe,” won three Hokus, including female vocalist of the year, in 2004. Her second, “Ohai Ula,” won both the adjudicated Hawaiian-language categories in 2011. Her third, “Waipunalei,” more than doubled that total tonight — winning seven awards in six categories — as the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) announced the winners of the 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Kahaunaele’s wins included album of the year, which goes to the producer of the album as well as to the artist. Since Kahaunaele is the album’s producer the win earned her two awards — one as the recording artist, one as the producer. Kahaunaele also won female vocalist, Hawaiian music album, song of the year, haku mele and Hawaiian language performance.

Lukela Keala, co-founder and lead vocalist of the local reggae trio Ekolu, had a career-best night of his own. Keala’s namesake solo album won male vocalist and island music album. The trio’s album, “2020,” won group of the year and reggae album and gave him a personal total of four for the year.

Iolani & Natalie Ai Kamauu won three Hokus — single of the year, Hawaiian single of the year and music video of the year.

Henry Kapono, Keilana and Zachary Alakai Lum won two awards each.

In compliance with COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the award-presenter introduction segments and the performance segments were recorded at the Hawaii Theatre Center in September; every finalist recorded an acceptance speech “just in case.” The winners’ prerecorded speeches were plugged in prior to broadcast. The show will re-air at 7 p.m. Saturday on KGMB and 7 p.m. Oct. 30 on KHNL.

The winners in 32 categories were determined by the HARA membership. Winners in six other categories — the two Hawaiian-­language categories (haku mele and Hawaiian language performance), the two engineering categories (engineering-general and engineering-Hawaiian), liner notes and graphics — were selected by panels of specialists.

Kapono also was the winner of the favorite entertainer of the year award, which is determined by public vote at the HARA website.

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.

The Ki-hoalu Legacy Award is administered by Milton Lau and the Ki-hoalu Foundation. It has been presented as part of the Hoku Awards since it was created in 1991.




>> Album of the year (awarded to artist and producers): “Waipunalei,” Kainani Kahaunaele (Mahuahua Music LLC), Kainani Kahaunele, producer

>> Group of the year: Ekolu, “2020” (Waiehu Records)

>> Male vocalist: Lukela Keala, “Lukela Keala” (Waiehu Records)

>> Female vocalist: Kainani Kahaunaele, “Waipunalei” (Mahuahua Music LLC)

>> Most promising artist(s): Keilana, “I Am” (Zeo Music)

>> Alternative album: “Chroma (Vol. 1),” Sean Cleland (Sean Cleland Music LLC)

>> Anthology (producer’s award): “Anthology Album,” Tropical Knights (KDE Records)

>> Christmas album: “Kapena: A Kapena Family Christmas Special,” Kapena (KDE Records)

>> Christmas single: “O Holy Night,” Kalani Peʻa (Peʻa Records & Entertainment)

>> Compilation album (producer’s award): “Lei Nahonoapiilani: Na Mele Hou,” various artists (North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund), Zachary Alakai Lum and Nicholas Kealii Lum, producers

>> Contemporary album: “Henry’s House,” Henry Kapono (Kapono Records)

>> Contemporary acoustic album: “First Dance,” Kaleo Phillips (Maui Tribe Records)

>> EP (extended play): “Where I Reside,” Kalae (Kalaʻe)

>> Hawaiian EP: “He Mele No Papa,” Kalani Miles (Mea Nui Records LLC)

>> Hawaiian music album: “Waipunalei,” Kainani Kahaunaele (Mahuahua Music LLC)

>> Hawaiian music video: “Worldwide #Jam4MaunaKea — Ku Haaheo & Hawaii Loa,” Mana Maoli (Mana Maoli)

>> Hawaiian single: “My Sweet,” Iolani & Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko Records LLC)

>> Hawaiian slack key album: “Far Away,” Patrick Landeza (Addison Street)

>> Hip-hop album: “From Beneath Maunakea,” Punahele (Punahele)

>> Island music album: Lukela Keala, “Lukela Keala” (Waiehu)

>> Instrumental album: “Queen Liliuokalani” The Mana Music Quartet (Mana Music Hawaiʻi)

>> Instrumental composition (composer’s award): “Brave,” by Kris Fuchigami, from the single “Brave” (Kris Fuchigami)

>> Jazz album: “Your Refrain,” by Maggie Herron (Herron Song Records)

>> Metal album: “Poisoned Love,” Storm (Tin Idol Productions)

>> Music video: “Noelani,” Iolani & Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko Records LLC)

>> R&B album: “I Am,” Keilana (Zeo Music)

>> Reggae album: “2020,” Ekolu (Waiehu Records)

>> Religious album: “Na Halelu,” Kenneth Makuakane (Makuakane Music Music)

>> Rock album: “Diamond Head Road,” Michael Piranha (Tubby Tunes Records)

>> Single:“Noelani,” Iolani & Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko Records LLC)

>> Song of the year (composer’s award): “Waipunalei,” by Kainani Kahaunaele from “Waipunalei” – Kainani Kahaunele (Mahuahua Music LLC)

>> ʻUkulele Album: “ ʻUkulele Life,” Herb Ohta Jr. (Lele Music Productions)



(determined by public vote)

>> Henry Kapono



>> Haku Mele (composer’s award): Hiapo K. Perreira & Kainani Kahaunaele for “Ohaoha Kou Lei Pua I Ka Hikina” from Waipunalei, Kainani Kahaunaele (Mahuahua Music LLC)

>> Hawaiian language performance: Kainani Kahaunaele for “Waipunalei” (Mahuahua Music LLC)

>> Hawaiian engineering: Michael Casil for “Lei Makamae” by Makamae Auwae (Soulforth Records)

>> General engineering: Imua Garza, Nate Brown & Evan Khay for “In The Wilderness” by Rachel Morley (Zeo Music Worship)

>> Liner notes award: Uilani Tanigawa Lum & Zachary Alakai Lum for “Huliamahi, Vol. 1” by Various Artists (Kuahuli Leo Le‘a)

>> Graphics award: Elsa Senner for “Sway,” Tavana (Tavana)

>> International album: “Leolani” Kaulana (Kaulana Entertainment)



(administered by the Ki-hoalu Foundation)

>> Stephen Inglis

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