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Hoku nominations packed with Maui County artists

Kalani Pe‘a nominated for 11 awards, Josh Tatofi for eight

Fresh off his third Grammy win, Kalani Pe‘a has been nominated for 11 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. This year’s field is packed with nominations for Maui County artists, including Female Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year and other major categories. Photo courtesy of Kalani Pe‘a

Having been crowned with his third Grammy Award for his marvelous album “Kau Ka Pe’a,” at the 2022 awards show in April, Maui-based musician Kalani Pe’a has been bestowed with an unprecedented 11 Na Hoku Hanohano nominations for his latest recording.

Pe’a’s nominations include Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year and three times for Hawaiian Music Video.

“I’m so overwhelmed and blessed,” Pe’a said Tuesday. “I’m just living by the mantra of my kupuna and grandmother, if you do your best, good things will come. My grandmother would say, if you do good, people will be good to you. I mahalo HARA (Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts) and all the legendary artists that have paved the pathway. I grew up watching the Na Hoku Hanohano awards and always envisioned being a nominee or receiving an award. Eleven nominations is so cool. I’m so honored.”

Pe’a said he wanted to dedicate the nominations to the late Uncle Aiau Koa, who played on the album. His birthday was Tuesday. Koa co-composed a few songs on this album, including “Kaniakapupu” and “‘A’ahu Poli’ahu.”

“He played on the album, so here’s here with me spiritually,” Pe’a added.

Josh Tatofi has been nominated for eight Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in a field packed with Maui County artists. Photo courtesy of Josh Tatofi

All three of Pe’a’s albums have won Grammy Awards. His debut recording won a Hoku for Contemporary Album of the Year.

Many Maui musicians received nominations this year, including Josh Tatofi, a Baldwin High School graduate who landed eight Hoku nominations for his singing, video production and composing talents.

Napua Greig’s “Home” earned her Female Vocalist of the Year and Island Music Album nominations. She is also nominated for Music Video of the Year for “Home Is Where The Heart Is.”

The Single of the Year category features all Maui musicians: Kihei-born brothers Kala’e and Kamaka Camarillo, for “Be Like You” and “Kupa’a,” respectively; John Cruz, who now lives on Maui, for “It’s Time to Build a Bridge”; Ei Nei, a trio that includes Wailuku-born Dane Fujiwara, for “Dear Lana’i”; and Tatofi for “Perfect to Me.”

Kala’e Camarillo’s “Be Like You” was also nominated for Song of The Year.

“I am humbled to be mentioned alongside those whom I admire so much and am full of gratitude for everyone that voted,” he posted on Facebook. “The coolest thing is being able to share the same category with my brother.”

Making Maui for home for a few years, Cruz is also up for Song and Music Video of the Year for “It’s Time To Build A Bridge.”

Maui County musicians are featured in every nomination for Hawaiian Single of the Year, including the Institute Of Hawaiian Music Moloka’i for “A Moloka’i Medley,” the Institute Of Hawaiian Music Maui for “Ho’oheno A’o Pi’ilani,” Keola Donaghy for “Ha’aheo Moloka’i I Na Pua Kukui,” Kamalei Kawa’a’s “Sweet Dreams Ku’u Momi” and Tatofi for “Wena.” Tatofi was also nominated for Music Video of the Year for “Perfect To Me,” and Hawaiian Music Video of the Year for “Wena.”

“It feels great,” said Donaghy, assistant professor of music at the University of Hawaii Maui College. “The amount of time both the Maui and Molokai students put into the recordings was really astounding. It’s a great affirmation of what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years. Joel Katz, our primary guitar teacher, is also nominated, and Kamalei Kawa’a is a student on our campus.”

All five nominations in the Hawaiian Music Video category are by Maui musicians, including Kawa’a of the Grammy-nominated group Na Wai ‘Eha, for “Sweet Dreams Ku’u Momi.” The song was composed for his late great-grandmother.

Jeff Peterson received two nominations: Instrumental Album of the Year for “Mele Nahenahe, Soothing Sounds Of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar,” and Instrumental Composition of the Year for “Halema’uma’u.”

Kanekoa is nominated for “Songs From The Great Disruption,” in the Island Music Album of the Year category.

“We are excited to be nominated,” they posted. “This album represents 25 years of a musical brotherhood.”

Kanekoa’s Vince Esquire is also nominated for Rock Album of the Year for “Polyphonic.”

Other Maui musicians nominated include Arlie-Avery Asiu for Ukulele Album of the Year, Rabbitt for R&B Album of the Year for “Chapters” and Tarvin Makia in the Christmas category for “Here In Hawai’i We Love Christmas Too.”

The duo of Kalani Miles and Kason Gomes, performing as Hoaka, is nominated for EP and Island Music Album of the Year for “Kikaha.”

In the EP category, Lanai’s Hawaiian Time is nominated for “E Olu’olu ‘Oe,” Greg DiPiazza’s “True Love” earned a Rock Album nomination and his collaboration with steel guitarist Joel Katz on “Unspoken” was nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year.

The Religious Album category includes Cindy Paulos for her album “In The Hands Of God,” and Goldawn Won is nominated for Hip Hop Album for “Something Beautiful.”

Finally, producers nominated in the Compilation Album category include Donaghy and Leihuanani Keali’inohomoku for “Awaiaulu ‘Ia E Ke Aloha No Moloka’i,” and Lance Collins for “Kawili” by various artists, which interprets traditional Philippine folk songs as Hawaiian mele.

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