Congratulations All Around!

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - June 17, 2009
Eric Lagrimas and Kalei Gamiao at the Hokus

Following Hoku Zuttermeister‘s six-award sweep at last year’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, this year seemed a bit mellow.

Big Island boy Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole graciously accepted his awards for Male Vocalist of the Year and Hawaiian Language Performance for his album Kaumakaiwa. It was a great moment, as he pointed out during an interview backstage that the legacy of his family is being perpetuated. His great-grandmother Edith Kanaka’ole won Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year in 1980 for her album Hi’ipoi I Ka Aina Aloha, and in 1999 his mother, Kekuhi Kanehele, was Female Vocalist of the Year.

Holunape took home two awards for Group of the Year and Hawaiian Album of the Year. They add these accolades to their Best Hawaiian Language and Group of the Year awards in 2006.

“For me, as a member of Holunape, I am truly happy and humbled,” says Kama Hopkins. “I include our family, friends, loyal supporters and those who love Hawaiian music and hula in this award because it is for them that we continue to do what we do. Mahalo nui.”

The group Pali, nominated for five categories, came out the big winner with three wins. Their album ...With Love won the coveted Album of the Year and Island Music Album. Win No. 3 was Song of the Year Island Days written by the group’s leader, Pali Kaaihue, who also serves as vice president of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) Board of Governors.

Honolulu Community College’s MELE (Music and Entertainment Learning Experience) Program also was well-represented at the black-tie gala. Faculty member Eric Lagrimas, owner of Pass Out Records, was associated with two award nominations: Pimpbot for Rock Album of the Year and Bop Tribal for Best Audio Engineering. The songwriting talents of Keala Chock, MELE Program coordinator, can be heard on the Brothers Cazimero‘s album Destiny, which was nominated in multiple categories. And one of MELE’s top students, Kalei Gamiao, received a nomination for Instrumental Album of the Year for his self-titled release.

David Kamakahi and wife Lisa

Lagrimas is one of the presenters at MELE’s Songwriters Workshop happening July 10-12. The three-day intensive workshop, designed for songwriters of all levels, will allow participants to interact with nationally and locally successful songwriters in all genres - pop, urban, R&B, country and more. Other local presenters include Manu Boyd, Leah Bernstein, Brother Noland, Jon de Mello and Puakea Nogelmeier. To register or for more information, visit

David Kamakahi, 2005 Na Hoku award winner, is back again with his second solo album Shine under his brand-new label Trick Bag Records.

“This is the first album I actually did all by myself,” says Kamakahi. “I felt like it was time for me to figure out if I could do it on my own - I’m really pleased.”

Building on his ukulele expertise, Kamakahi illustrates the instruments versatility with songs such as ‘A ‘Ola, Boardwalk Angel, Fields of Gold, Cumana, Man In The Mirror, Ka Ua Loku, Nightbird, Your Smiling Face, Waimanalo Blues and Con Te Partiro (A Time To Say Goodbye).

G Dehnert receives his House Music Award

“All the songs that I chose were songs that I like to play on stage and off stage,” he adds. “The big difference between that album and this one, is on this album I selected all the songs. I go into a little more pop music, I push it into rock ‘n’roll and a little bit of blues. It’s a little more identifiable with me.”

The album, which is available online, will hit store shelves soon. For a live listen, check out Kamakahi at Uncle’s down at Pier 38 Saturdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., and also at Thai Sweet Basil on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m.

Expect a variety of sounds, as Kamakahi describes his style as “a very loose structure.”

He adds, “I don’t like being bound by any rules in music. Instead of following the normal melody, I like taking things from different genres and putting it in Hawaiian music. For me, it’s all music.”

Kamakahi hopes to eventually expand on Trick Bag Records, which he says got its name from the song Eugene’s Trick Bag in the movie Crossroads. But, for now, he says he’s focusing on his own productions.

Kamakahi, who started his music career on stage next to his dad Dennis, will be traveling with Dad again on a father-son national tour alongside George and son Keoki Kahumoku early next year.

But before this ‘98 Kamehameha grad packs his bags, he’ll have his hands full being a daddy. That’s right, David and his wife Lisa are expecting their first child in September. It’s a girl! Congratulations, David and Lisa. And also to Grandpa Dennis ...

My congrats also go out to G Dehnert of Double-O-Spot for his win of the 25th anniversary House Music Award for outstanding contribution to the electronic music industry. The surprise presentation was May 30 at one of Dehnert’s promotional events, the Motion Music Festival at Pipeline Cafe.

“I was pretty amazed and shocked, especially being presented by Jesse Saunders, the godfather of house,” says Dehnert. “It made me feel tremendously good about the years of trials and tribulations I’ve had pushing dance music.”


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