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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 1, 2006

Hapa tops Na Hoku awards

Na Hoku photo gallery

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Nathan Aweau, left, and Barry Flanagan known as Hapa performed during the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards last night. Later, Hapa claimed four awards, including album of the year and contemporary Hawaiian album of the year.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Jack Johnson won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for rock album last night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. The award was for Johnson's million-plus-selling CD, "In Between Dreams."

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Barry Flanagan and Nathan Aweau's first CD as Hapa grabbed four awards at last night's Na Hoku Hanohano Awards ceremonies, more than any other nominated disc.

Hapa's "Maui" earned top awards for album of the year and contemporary Hawaiian album of the year. The disc also won a graphics award for Solomon Enos, Scott Johnson and Flanagan, and an engineering award for Wendell Ching and Tommy Hall.

The honors for album of the year and contemporary Hawaiian album of the year were Hapa's second in both categories. With Flanagan and former musical partner Keli'i Kaneali'i, Hapa took home both trophies in 1994 for its best-selling debut "Hapa."

The prolific Aweau, who garnered a total of 10 nominations this year spread across Hapa's "Maui" and two solo discs, won six awards total. "Bass Etude" earned Aweau honors for jazz album of the year, while "Hawai'i Classic Series Vol. 1 Vintage" nabbed him a Hoku as male vocalist of the year.

The Hoku for male vocalist was Aweau's second ever in the category. The vocalist and multi-instrumentalist's "E Apo Mai" took the award in 2003.

Jack Johnson won two of four nominations for his million-plus- selling CD "In Between Dreams" rock album of the year and song of the year for "Good People." His Hoku for rock album of the year was his second in the category, in which he won the award in 2004 for his "On and On" disc.

Accepting his Hoku for rock album of the year, Johnson thanked his wife, Kim; his mom and dad; and "my son Moe at home watching TV wondering why I'm not home."

Offering Johnson a hug backstage, musician O-Shen, who had presented him his award, gushed: "It's good to finally meet you. I've been a fan for a long time."

Johnson then took pictures with several fans.

Hapa went into last night's awards ceremony with six nods for "Maui," matching Kaumakaiwa Lopaka Kanaka'ole, Sean Na'auao, Kapono Beamer and newcomer Aaron J. Sala for most nominations this year.


All but one in that male-dominated lead pack took home Hoku last night.

Kanaka'ole's "Welo" earned a Hoku for Hawaiian album of the year and tied for Hawaiian-language performance honors with Holunape's "He 'Olu."

Sala won honors as most promising artist for "Ka 'Upu Aloha Alone With My Thoughts," while the disc's "Ehuehu Mae Nei 'O Manoa" won composer Kihei de Silva the haku mele Hoku, which honors a new song or chant primarily in the Hawaiian language.

The sole award for Beamer's Grammy-nominated "Slack Key Dreams of the Ponomoe" CD was an engineering Hoku for Beamer and Gaylord Holomalia. The disc tied for engineering honors with Hapa's "Maui." Beamer also won the noncompetitive Ki Ho'alu Award.

Na'auao's "Ka 'Eha Ke Aloha" disc was shut out in all six of its nominated categories. Other notable multinominated musicians walking away empty-handed this year were Na Pali, former "American Idol" semifinalist Jasmine Trias and Auntie Ida Keli'i Chun.

There were a couple of first-time wins in high-profile Hoku categories.

Though shut out in four of the five categories she was nominated in, Natalie Ai Kamau'u won her first award as female vocalist of the year for her debut disc "'E." Group-of-the-year honors went to Holunape for its debut disc "He 'Olu."

Na Leo's win for contemporary album of the year with "Feel the Spirit" marked the third time that the trio has earned the honor. Na Leo also won contemporary-album honors in 1998 ("Colours") and 1996 ("Flying With Angels").

Ekolu's "Ekolu Music" scored the group its second consecutive win for reggae album of the year. Ekolu owned the category last year with "Back to the Valley The 3rilogy."


'Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro's hopes for a win for rock album of the year — for his disc "Dragon" — were dashed by Johnson's "In Between Dreams."

Veteran ki ho'alu artist Ledward Ka'apana's "Ki Ho'alu Hawaiian Slack Key" won the instrumental album of the year, an award Shimabukuro took home the three past years. It was Ka'apana's fourth win in the category, having scored Hoku in 2001, 1989 and 1984.

Shimabukuro, however, did nab the much-coveted, public-voted award for favorite entertainer of the year. He had previously won the award once as a solo artist in 2003 and as a member of Pure Heart in 1999.

Keali'i Reichel, who did not have a disc of new music out last year, won two Hoku for his hits collection "Kamahiwa: Keali'i Reichel Collection-One." The CD won an award as anthology album of the year and a liner notes award for Reichel, Puakea Nogelmeier and Fred Krauss.

Lifetime achievement awards were given to Palani Vaughan, Ohta-San, George Na'ope, Leila Hohu Kiaha and Dick Jensen.

Live musical performances last night between award presentations included Hapa, Beamer, Na'auao, Kanaka'ole, Holunape, Sala, Kamau'u and Shimabukuro.

In the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom reception area prior to the awards, Beamer was an early arrival, in a cool black suit and long strand of maile. He got a big hug from his equally well-dressed son Kamana, of the group Kamau, upon Kamana's arrival.

Slam poet Kealoha, sitting in the lobby, said he was attending "to support Barry and Nate" of Hapa, on whose "Maui" album he did a spoken word cameo.

Lei were selling as briskly as always in the lobby area, with pikake and pua kenikeni being the favorites by far. Attendees moved quickly from the reception area into the ballroom as the 6 p.m. start time for dinner drew near.


Johnson arrived near that time sporting a dressy tan aloha shirt, brown slacks and slippers, sans lei (which he would get later), accompanied by his wife. Bison and Eric White of Go Jimmy Go welcomed him with handshakes.

Nominated for best reggae album with his Go Jimmy Go bandmates, White said there were no nerves accompanying the group's second Hoku nomination.

"We didn't win the last time so there's no shame this time," said White, laughing. Asked why Go Jimmy Go wasn't performing this time around, White joked that the band wanted pyrotechnics but Hoku organizers said absolutely not.

Brittni Paiva, a nominee for instrumental album of the year, arrived with her mom in tow. In a floor-length red gown accessorized with many colorful lei, Paiva admitted graduating to a Honolulu dress purchase this year instead of one from her Hilo hometown as she'd done at her first Hoku ceremonies last year.

Aweau arrived in the reception area long before Hapa partner Flanagan who was "running a bit late, but he'll be here," Aweau promised.

Aweau swore he had no nerves about his 10 nominations going into the evening's awards. That is, "unless I don't win anything," he added, laughing.

There was no chance of that happening last night.

• • •

Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winners

Album of the Year: "Maui" Hapa (FINN), Nathan Aweau and Barry Flanagan, producers

Group of the Year: Holunape, "He 'Olu" (Roy Sakuma)

Male Vocalist of the Year: Nathan Aweau, "The Hawai'i Classic Series Vol. 1, Vintage" (Bass Plus Music Arts)

Female Vocalist of the Year: Natalie Ai Kamau'u, " 'E" (Keko)

Lifetime Achievement Awards: Dick Jensen, George Na'ope, Herb "Ohta-San" Ohta, Palani Vaughan and the late Leila Hohu Kiaha

Borders Favorite Entertainer of the Year (by popular vote): Jake Shimabukuro

Most Promising Artist: Aaron J. Sala, for "Ka 'Upu Aloha: Alone With My Thoughts" (Hula)

Song of the Year: "Good People" by Jack Johnson from "In Between Dreams," Jack Johnson (Brushfire)

Instrumental Album of the Year: "Ki Ho'alu Hawaiian Slack Key," Ledward Ka'apana (Rhythm & Roots)

Rock Album of the Year: "In Between Dreams," Jack Johnson (Brushfire)

Contemporary Album of the Year: "Feel the Spirit," Na Leo (Second Twenty)

Haku Mele: "Ehuehu Mai Nei 'O Manoa," by Kihei de Silva from "Ka 'Upu Aloha: Alone with My Thoughts," Aaron J. Sala (Hula)

Christmas Album of the Year: "Christmas in Hawaii," Danny Couch (Danny Couch)

Hawaiian Album of the Year: "Welo," Kaumakaiwa "Lopaka" Kanaka'ole (Mountain Apple)

Religious Album of the Year: "Hymns of Hawai'i, Vol. 2," George Kahumoku Jr. and Daniel Ho (Daniel Ho)

Reggae Album of the Year: "Ekolu Music," Ekolu (Waiehu)

Hawaiian Language Performance: (tie) Holunape for "He 'Olu" (Roy Sakuma) and Kaumakaiwa "Lopaka" Kanaka'ole for "Welo" (Mountain Apple)

Jazz Album of the Year: "Bass Etude," Nathan Aweau (Bass Plus Music Arts)

Contemporary Album of the Year: "Maui" Hapa (FINN)

Anthology Album of the Year: "Kamahiwa: Keali'i Reichel Collection — One," Keali'i Reichel (Punahele) Keali'i Reichel,
Jim Linkner and Fred Krauss, producers

Compilation Album of the Year: "Aloha Festivals Hawaiian Falsetto Contest Winners, Vol. 6" various artists (Hula), William Baba Alimoot, Steve Kramer and Donald P. Flip McDiarmid III, producers

Engineering: (tie) Wendell Ching and Tommy Hall for "Maui" Hapa (FINN), and Gaylord Holomalia and Kapono Beamer for "Slack Key Dreams of the Ponomoe," Kapono Beamer (Kapono Beamer Enterprises)

Graphics: Solomon Enos, Barry Flanagan and Scott Johnson for "Maui," Hapa (FINN)

Liner Notes: Puakea Nogelmeier, Keali'i Reichel and Fred Krauss for "Kamahiwa: Keali'i Reichel Collection — One," Keali'i Reichel (Punahele)

Ki Ho 'Alu Award: Kapono Beamer

Moe Keale "Aloha Is" Award for Community Service: Jerry Santos
Bill Murata Memorial Scholarship recipients: Kalikolihau Hannahs, attending UH-Manoa law school; and Kamuela Kimokeo, attending Brigham Young University-Hawai'i

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.

Correction: Jake Shimabukuro was nominated for rock album of the year for his CD "Dragon" and favorite entertainer of the year at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. A previous version of this story incorrectly listed a different category. "Ehuehu Mai Nei 'O Manoa" won the Hoku award for haku mele. The name of the composition was incorrect in a list with a previous version of this story.