Na Hoku O Hawaii Music Festival

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - May 19, 2010

The Na Hoku Hanohano Awards have been around since 1978, but this year there is much more to it than one evening of trophy presentations. Called Na Hoku O Hawaii Music Festival, and happening May 27-30, it showcases the best music the Islands have to offer.

The four-day event presented by 4 Miles LLC and the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts begins May 27 with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. at Hawaii Convention Center featuring live performances by Amy Hanaialii, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, Natalie Ai Kamauu, Cyril Pahinui and Friends, BET, Friends of Adam, Kumu Hula Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Kalapana, Jake Shimabukuro and Yuna Ito with Pali. Besides the many stages of entertainment, guests also will enjoy food, drinks, exhibitors and vendors, capped off with a performance by the De Lima Ohana from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Royal Hawaiian’s Mai Tai Bar.

“This festival was designed to be around the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards,” says Dawn Kaniaupio, producer and partner of 4 Miles LLC. “It would accomplish many things, help the visitor industry stimulate travel and help our artists.”


As if the impressive list of entertainers coming out for this festival isn’t enough to draw worldwide attention, this festival comes complete with three days of workshops offered by some of the best in the business.

To name a few: “Making A CD” by Kenneth Makuakane, “Manufacturer Workshops” by KoAloha Ukulele and Taylor Guitars, “Hakukole: Chants, Songs and Sayings of Ridicule Lecture” by Keali’i Reichel and “Meet the Artist” by Jake Shimabukuro and Eddie Kamae.


“High definition is the realm that we work in,” adds Kaniaupio, “so we approached HARA and offered to help them elevate their show. But financially they were not able to finance a high-definition production. So we started brainstorming how to take this one project (Na Hoku Hanohano Awards) so that it’s larger and meets many goals. So we created the concept of this four-day festival.”

In support of the festival, 25 venues in Waikiki will offer free music Friday and Saturday nights by top-notch artists such as Maunalua, KalapanaHoku Zuttermeister, Henry Kapono and more.

There is one paid concert each evening, as well. On Friday, it’s Island Flava at Pipeline Cafe with Langa Savea, Fiji, Siaosi, Nesian Nine, Kiwini and special guest Cas Haley from the TV series America’s Got Talent.

Saturday it’s Smooth Jazz Nights featuring the legendary Lee Ritenour (known as “Captain Fingers”) with special guests David Pack, Melvin Lee Davis and Michael Paulo at The Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

Sunday culminates with the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards at the convention center. It begins at 5 p.m. on K5 with the VIP red carpet arrival. Then on KGMB at 7 p.m., viewers will enjoy a 30-minute documentary on this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, followed by the awards show at 7:30.

“This year it will be theatre-style, no dinner,” says Kaniaupio. “So it’s actually following the format of the Grammys, and is a produced television show that is going to have a lot of elements.”

It all wraps up at 10 p.m., and that’s when the after party goes off. Food, multiple stages of entertainment, surprise artists, prize giveaways and, of course, some great company.

If this all seems like a lot of information to digest, take a breather, then visit ...

Northern California-based band Groundation teams up with Palolo Valley-based band Ooklah the Moc this Friday at Pipeline Cafe for an all-ages evening of reggae fusion.

Expect to hear powerful messages through a fresh, improvisation-based musical lens, as Groundation makes its way to Hawaii for its only 2010 show.

It’s been a steady flow of movement since the band was founded in 1998 by core members Harrison Stafford (guitar/lead vocals), Ryan Newman (bass) and Marcus Urani (b3 organ/keys/piano). In 2000, jazz trumpeter David Chachere and Kelsey Howard on trombone were added to the mix. Throw in drummer Tekanawa Haereiti and percussionist Mingo Lewis Jr., and vocal-ists Kerry-Ann Morgan and Kim Pommell - the new members and evolving sound have taken the group from underground to world tours.

Ooklah the Moc goes upand-up with Groundation’s band member count. They are: Ryan Murakami (bass), John Davis (drums), Asher Philippart (guitar), James Lapierre (vocals), Micky Huihui (vocals), Kali Navales (vocals), Brad Watanabe (keyboards), Gary Nakano (trumpet) and Mike Cueva (sax).

Ooklah takes the stage at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8. Tickets cost $25 advance and $30 at the door. For tickets or more information, call 589-1999.


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