Kalani Pe‘a made history in 2017 when he became the first Hawaii recording artist to win a Grammy Award and a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for the same project. Pe‘a won his second consecutive Grammy in February and is now poised to make history again as the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts announces the finalists in 35 categories for the 2019 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
Pe‘a and his second album, “No ‘Ane‘i,” are finalists in six categories including album of the year and male vocalist; a win in almost any of them would make him two-for-two a second time.
Also looking good on the ballot is Na Hoa — the trio of Ikaika Blackburn, Keoni Souza and Halehaku Seabury-Akaka, who were also Grammy finalists in February. Their album, “Aloha from Na Hoa,” is a finalist in five categories. They’ll go head-to-head with Pe‘a, Mark Yamanaka, Keauhou and Na Wai Eha for album of the year, and face Keauhou, Na Wai Eha, Ekolu and Waipuna for group of the year.
And, with Pe‘a up against multi-Hoku winners Nathan Aweau, Sean Na‘auao, Mark Yamanaka and the late Cyril Pahinui for male vocalist, a twofer for Pe‘a is far from guaranteed.
The winners will be announced during the 42nd annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on May 25 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 all five finalists in that category either produced or co-produced their albums, a win for album of the year would earn them two awards — one for their work as recording artists and a second for their work as producers.
The HARA membership determines the winners in 28 categories. The winner of the favorite entertainer of the year award is determined by public voting online — finalists in that category will be announced later this month.
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 — 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.
Here is the list of finalists:
Album of the Year
“Aloha from Na Hoa” — Na Hoa (NH Records) Ikaika Blackburn, Keoni Souza and Halehaku Seabury, producers
“Lei Lehua” — Mark Yamanaka (Hulu Kupuna Productions) Mark Yamanaka and Kellen Paik, producers
“Na Wai ‘Eha” — Na Wai ‘Eha (NWE Records) Dave Tucciarone and Na Wai ‘Eha, producers
“No ‘Ane‘i” — Kalani Pe‘a (Kalani Pe‘a Music LLC) Dave Tucciarone, Kalani Pe‘a and Allan B. Cool, producers
“Ua Ko, Ua ‘Aina” — Keauhou (Keauhou) Keauhou, producer
Group of the Year
Ekolu for “Ekolu Music 3: For Hawai‘i” (Waiehu Records)
Keauhou for “Ua Ko, Ua ‘Aina” (Keauhou)
Na Hoa for “Aloha from Na Hoa” (NH Records)
Na Wai ‘Eha for “Na Wai ‘Eha” (NWE Records)
Waipuna for “Waipuna” (Poki Records)
Male Vocalist of the Year
Nathan Aweau for “Mau Loa” (Bass Plus Music Arts)
Sean Na‘auao for “Na Keiki O Hawai‘i” (Maliona Records)
Cyril Pahinui for “Marketplace” (Pahinui Productions)
Kalani Pe‘a for “No ‘Ano‘i” (Kalani Pe‘a Music LLC)
Mark Yamanaka for “Lei Lehua” (Hulu Kupuna Productions)
Female Vocalist of the Year
Aja for “Pilina” (no label listed)
Anuhea for “Follow Me: Deluxe Hawaii Edition” (Sono Record Group/AnuheaJams)
Karlie G for “Have Fun” (Karlie Goya)
Maggie Herron for “Ton of Trouble, A” (Herron Song Records)
Cindy Paulos for “Peace, Music, and Poems” (Bright Light Productions)
EP (“Extended Play”) Release of the Year
“<3 (Less than 3)” — Tim Rose (no label listed)
“Finding My Way — Drew Henmi (no label listed)
“From the Island of Maui”— Greg Dipiazza & Joel Katz (no label listed)
“Home” — Nick Kurosawa (Aloha Got Soul)
“Keoni Ku” — Keoni Ku (Tribal Treble Records)
“My Hawaii (Will Always Be Here)” — Kamuela Kahoano (Green Light Go HI Productions)
“Tribute to Pat Benatar, A” — Evil Genius (Tin Idol Productions)
Hawaiian EP (“Extended Play”) Release of the Year
“He Lani Ko Luna, He Honua Ko Lalo” — Institute of Hawaiian Music UH Maui College (Institute of Hawaiian Music)
“Maunakea Ku Hanohano” — Pandanus Club (KM Music)
“Moments” — Marlowe (no label listed)
Single of the Year
“Heartstrings” — Kolohe Kai (RKD Inc.)
“Morning Drive” — Mark Yamanaka (Hulu Kupuna Productions)
“My Hawaii (Will Always Be Here)” — Kamuela Kahoanao (Green Light Go HI Productions)