A Weekend Of Hoku-winning Music

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - May 18, 2011
| Del.icio.us
Mailani’s new album cover

Don’t miss out because this week is all about Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning musicians putting on performances that are free - and everyone is invited!

Start the weekend off early with last year’s Female Vocalist of the Year Mailani as Apartm3nt hosts her CD release party on Thursday (May 19) from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Mailani will be sharing songs from her new CD ‘Aina, which released March 29. The album is her sophomore solo release and follows her self-titled debut release in 2009.

Her professional career in music began as one half of the award-winning group Keahiwai. Together, she and band mate Lei Melket recorded six albums, which earned them numerous No. 1 hits on local radio charts - making them one of the most popular female duos in Hawaii.

Mailani’s latest release not only has traditional Hawaiian pieces but also showcases her contemporary side. Join this talented singer/songwriter as she shares her music. ‘Aina features 12 songs He’eia, Pane Mai, Ka Manu, Kaula ‘Ili, Ka Nani o Ka’ena, Yesterday, Hawaiian Eyes, La Kahakai, Tewe Tewe, Mehameha, Nani and Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For ...

On Friday (May 20), na Palapalai, Kupaoa and Mark Yamanaka are having a free Mahalo Concert from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Pauahi Street.

That’s right, these guys don’t mess around. They shut down Pauahi Street, between Hawaii Theatre and Bethel Street Gallery because they got themselves some street creds. Na Palapalai has handfuls of Na Hoku Hanohano awards from their four album releases.

In fact, they earned five for just their debut album Makani ‘Olu’olu in 2003. This year, Na Palapalai is nominated for three awards.

Kupaoa took home two Na Hoku Hanohano awards in 2009 for their debut release Pili O Ke Ao. And this year they’re nominated for seven awards.

na Palapalai. Photos from Melissa Moniz

Matching their seven is Hilo’s Mark Yamanaka with his debut album Lei Pua Kenikeni. He’s up for Favorite Entertainer, Most Promising Artist, Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Hawaiian Album of the Year. Now that’s a lot of talent on one street for free.

“We wanted to give back to our fans who are always so loyal and supportive to us,” says Kuana torres Kahele of Na Palapalai.

“We also want people to be able to connect with the music. So we encourage people to bring their kupuna, bring their keiki and just have fun.”

They’re calling it a celebration of Hawaiian music. And just in case you don’t have their CDs and you like what you hear, they’ll have them available for a “Merrie Monarch special” of two for $25.

“It is sort of a continuation of our big booth at Merrie Monarch,” adds Kahele. “We are sort of known for the two for $25 CD deal there. We sold more than a thousand CDs this year during the festival. Pick any two Hawaiian CDs, you can’t go wrong!” And they’ll be also taking pre-orders for Kahele’s highly anticipated solo album releasing in June. For more on that, check out my column next week.

And in case you didn’t know, ioane Burns, a Hawaiian music all-star, became a permanent member of Na Palapalai, joining Kahele and Kehau tamure earlier this year.

Just as a side note: I saw all three (Na Palapalai, Kupaoa and Yamanaka) at Waipuna’s Mother’s Day Brunch last Sunday and they were fab-u-lous ...

Switching gears from Hawaiian to reggae, the first Battle of the Reggae Bands is calling all contestants who think they have what it takes.

The groups will battle it out at the NAPA Auto Parts Big Boys & MMA Hawaii Expo June 17-19.

The talented group who taps out the competition will win $10,000 worth of prizes.

To sign up, send in your application along with a high quality CD or MP3 sample of your band and show (no studio recordings please).

All entries must be received by June 8. All those interested, visit hawaiibigboysshow.com for full and updated information ...

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