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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Ho'okena: 'Cool' with the moonlighting

Who is your favorite for Hawaiian Grammy?
The first Grammy for Hawaiian music will be given out on Sunday in Los Angeles. Take our online poll and vote for your favorite to win.

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Little-known fact: Glen Smith of Ho'okena performs on three of the five nominated CDs — including his group's "Cool Elevation" — in the Hawaiian music Grammy Award to be announced Sunday.

Ho'okena, from left: Manu Boyd, Glen Smith, Horace Dudoit III, and Chris Kamaka.

Smith, who works at the Pearl Harbor shipyard, played guitar on Keali'i Reichel's "Ke'alaokamaile" disc and on The Brothers Cazimero's "Some Call It Aloha ... Don't Tell" album.

So in theory, Smith is the contender to watch in the first-ever Grammy Awards recognizing Hawaiian artists.

"Glen's work demonstrates that we all have other musical outlets in which we participate," said Manu Boyd, public information officer for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs when he's not wearing his Ho'okena badge. "He rightfully could have been on the slack-key nominee, too, or Willie and Amy's album, if he were asked. This simply illustrates the camaraderie, the sense of 'ohana, our group has."

Ho'okena members all have full-time day jobs. Horace Dudoit III is a postal clerk and Chris Kamaka is with his family's Kamaka 'Ukulele business.

  • 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. (tape delayed)
  • Sunday
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"Some Call It Aloha...Don't Tell"
The Brothers Cazimero


"Amy & Willie Live"
Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom & Willie K.


"Cool Elevation"


Keali'i Reichel


"Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2"
Charles Michael Brotman, producer

This summer, the group marks its 19th year.

"Though we're part-time musicians, we take music seriously, as if it were full time," said Dudoit. "But being part time means we can pick and choose where and when to play. We don't have the stress of surviving and making the bills, because we all have day jobs. This keeps our music honest."

Still, music is more than a hobby: "the love, the experience of getting together ... we keep it all in good light, and don't do it for the money," said Boyd. "Our best performances and sometimes our best moments come during rehearsals, when we experiment with our art and create songs."

"If I have new material, I introduce the songs to the group," said Boyd, a prolific tunesmith. "We rehearse it, see how it's coming along."

"Manu and I pick the majority of the songs, but if I have an idea, I share it with the group," said Dudoit. "Like 'The Prayer,' where Maila Gibson was an easy pick, with the voice I was looking for, the spirit that carries the song. She was perfect."

Smith was initially dubious about how Ho'okena (previously a quintet) would manage vocally as a foursome. "I was afraid that vocally, we wouldn't be as strong and that we would have to rely on the magic of studio enhancements to maintain the same sound."

But the fears were unfounded.

"The Ho'okena signature is still there," he said.

Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com, 525-8067 or fax 525-8055.

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Artist/label: Ho'okena (Manu Boyd, 41; Horace K. Dudoit III, 41; Glen Smith, 48; Chris Kamaka, 48), Ho'omau Inc.

Career Hoku awards: 6 (count varies; Boyd previously won for a Brothers Cazimero recording; Kamaka has won with Kealohi).

What are you going to wear to the Grammys? "Probably tux or similar formal attire; no malo, slippers, board shorts," said Boyd. "Hopefully, our clothing sponsor, Tori Richard, will come up with something," said Smith. "Tori Richard and a black tie; more like a casual black-tie look," said Dudoit.

What kind of lei? Pua kenikeni or pikake; "up to Mother Nature or Auntie Honey Ka'ilio," said Boyd.

Where would you display the award if you win? "Right next to my 20-year-old son's picture, who's been in the Marines for about a year and will be going to Iraq in March," said Dudoit.

What are you most proud of about the nominated CD? "The fact that we were able to put out a very good CD in two 12-hour sessions (at the Avex studio in Hawai'i Kai)," said Dudoit. "We have never been that fast in the past."

Unknown factoid about the making of the CD: "Horace overslept the morning of our photo shoot at Nu'uanu Pali," said Boyd.

Should have been nominated, and why: "Na Palapalai, for their first album; I enjoy their strength and harmonies," said Kamaka. "I would have loved to have seen the Makaha Sons included with us; they are the other group that has been doing (Hawaiian music) for a while," said Dudoit.

Next up: Hana Hou! concert April 8 at Hawai'i Theatre; Merrie Monarch Festival (Ho'okena will perform for Boyd's Halau O ke 'A'ali'i Ku Makani).