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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Reichel, rookie win big at Na Hoku

 •  2004 Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Keali'i Reichel and his best-selling "Ke'alaokamaile" album were the top winners at last night's 27th annual Na Hoku Hanohano awards, sweeping up seven prizes.

Keali'i Reichel was the big winner last night at Na Hoku Hanohano awards, taking the prizes for top album and top song, and for best male vocalist.

Kainani Kahaunaele won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for best Hawaiian language performance during a ceremony last night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Kahaunaele won two other awards last night.

Photos by Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

Reichel's biggest awards were album of the year, Hawaiian album of the year and male vocalist of the year. He shared song of the year honors with Puakea Nogelmeier for "Ka Nohona Pili Kai" from "Ke'alaokamaile."

Reichel was nominated 11 times, more than anyone else.

Only two other nominees walked away with multiple awards. First-time nominee Kainani Kahaunaele was awarded three Hoku for most promising artist, female vocalist of the year and Hawaiian language performance of the year. The Hawaiian language scholar's debut recording "Na'u 'Oe" was nominated for seven awards.

Maunalua took the stage for two awards — group of the year and favorite entertainer of the year.

Ho'okena — tied with Kahaunaele for second-most Hoku nominations this year with their "Cool Elevation" album — went home empty handed.

Other Hoku went to Jack Johnson for "On And On" (rock album of the year), Natural Vibrations for "The Circle" (reggae album) and Jake Shimabukuro for "Crosscurrent" (instrumental album).

Live performers included Shimabukuro, Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Ho'okena, Maunalua, Kahaunaele and Reichel.

Those arriving early at the ceremony's new home at the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom were surprised to find themselves greeted by a teeming crowd of well-dressed folks also queuing to get into the bar and then into the ballroom.

Bowing to the humid weather outside, most males chose to forgo tuxes and dress down a bit with dressy aloha shirt and slack combos. Women wore flowing colorful mu'u mu'u, cocktail dresses and designer pant suits. Most sported fragrant lei of all varieties.

Dressed from head to toe in casual black, Reichel arrived largely without fanfare but was swarmed by admirers and friends. He posed patiently for photographs, smiling wide and tightly clutching a dozen-plus handful of lei that couldn't fit around his already loaded neck.

The picture of gracefulness in a sparkling pink mu'u mu'u, Aunty Genoa Keawe seemed to attract even more well-wishers than Reichel as she gave lifetime achievement award winner Marlene Sai an affectionate peck on the cheek.

Sai, elegant as ever in a shimmering brown dress that seemed to float above ground as she walked, held Keawe close and smiled.

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8005.