Photo: Kahele and Torres.

Big Island’s Kuana Torres Kahele wins big at Na Hoku Hanohano Hawaii music awards

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Big Island vocalist/songwriter/musician Kuana Torres Kahele and his debut solo album Kaunaloa were the top winners at the 35th annual 2012 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaiian music industry’s equivalent to Grammys) held earlier this week in Honolulu. 

Kahele (pictured, above) won the following awards: Male Vocalist of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year, Song of the Year (Na Vaqueros), Liner Notes and Album of the Year. All awards were tied to Kaunaloa. An award for graphics went to Kahao Zane and Kamele Eskaran for their work on Kaunaloa.

Kahele, a founding member of multi-Hoku-award-winning duo Na Palapalai, had collected 10 nominations on the awards ballot — the most among all Hawaii musicians nominated for 2012 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Among the other winners: Waipuna (Kale Hannahs and Matt Sproat) picked up awards Group of the Year and Island Music Album for the Year with their second album, E Ho i Mai. Also, Hannahs and Sproat (pictured, left) won the Hoku award for Single of the Year, for Ainahau. Jake Shimabukuro won for Instrumental Album of the Year, for Peace Love Ukulele. Shimabukuro also won the only Na Hoku Hanohano award category that is voted on by the general public: Favorite Entertainer of the Year.

Most of Hoku’s 27 award categories are voted on by members of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, an organization made up of recording industry professionals, journalists and others with an interest in Hawaiian music.

Here are the 2012 Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners:

• Album of the Year 
(to artist and producers): Kuanaloa, Kuana Torres Kahele (Kuana Torres Kahele)
Kuana Torres Kahale and Dave Tucciarone, producers

• Hawaiian Album of the Year: Kaunaloa, Kuana Torres Kahele (Kuana Torres Kahele)

• Song of the Year (composer's award)
 Na Vaqueros by Kuana Torres Kahele, from Kaunaloa, Kuana Torres Kahele (Kuana Torres Kahele)

• Male Vocalist of the Year: Kuana Torres Kahele, Kaunaloa (Kuana Torres Kahele)

• Female Vocalist of the Year: Natalie Ai Kamauu,  A (Keko)

• Group of the Year: Waipuna, E Ho i Mai (Poki)

• Island Music Album of the Year: E Ho i Mai, Waipuna (Poki)

• Single of the Year: Ainahau, Waipuna (Poki)

• Instrumental Album of the Year: Peace Love Ukulele, Jake Shimabukuro (Hitchhike)

• Favorite Entertainer of the Year
: Jake Shimabukuro

• Anthology Album of the Year: Kekumuwai, Pandanus Club (Makuakane)
Kenneth Makuakane, Chris Kealiiaa and Tasha Tavares-Makuakane, producers

• Compilation Album of the Year: Ho ala Iapana, various artists
Dave Tucciarone, producer

• Contemporary Album of the Year: Rising In Love, Lehua Kalima (Kalima)

• EP (Extended Play) of the Year: Na Mele O Ioane Keanaaina, John Ioane Keanaaina, Jr.

• Graphics: Kuhao Zane and Kamele Eskaran, for Kaunaloa, Kuana Torres Kahale (Kuana Torres Kahele)

• Haku Mele: Ku u Hoa Hi ikua, Hi ikua, from Aia I Hi ialo, Hi ikua (Hi ikua)

• Hawaiian Language Performance: Hula, Robert Cazimero (Mountain Apple)

• Hip-Hop Album of the Year: Illnomadic, Navid Najafi (Aumakua)

• Jazz Album of the Year: (TIE) 
Salt, Starr Kalahiki (Kipuka), and 
Ukulele Jazz Live in Concert Hilo, Hawaii, Benny Chong

• Liner Notes: Kuana Torres Kahale, for Kaunaloa, Kuana Torres Kahele (Kuana Torres Kahele)

• Most Promising Artist: Starr Kalahiki, Salt (Kipuka)

• Reggae Album of the Year: Simply For Love, Ekolu (Waiehu)

• Religious Album of the Year: Chucky Boy Chock and Friends, Chucky Boy Chock (New Song Music)

• Rock Album of the Year: Warehouse Blues, Willie K (Maui Tribe)

• Slack Key Album of the Year: Waimaka Helelei, Dennis Kamakahi and Stephen Inglis (Aumakua)

• International Album of the Year: Ohana, Kaulana (Kaulana)

• Engineering
: Wendell Ching, Carl Noa and Matthew Honda for Self Titled, Hot Rain (Afflatuf)

• Ki Ho alu Foundation Legacy Award: Makana

• Moe Keale "Aloha Is" Award: Haunani Apoliona

• Steel Guitar Legacy Award: The Tau Moe Family

For more details about the 2012 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, click here.

Photos: The Mountain Apple Co., Jake Shimabukuro.

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