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Winners of Ka Himeni 'Ana 2011

1st place: Mokoli'i
Isaac Akuna ('ukulele), Nathaniel Stillman (bass), Alika Souza (guitar), Eddie Palama (steel guitar), Kuni Agard.

2nd place: Sons of Kapalama
Pomaika'i Brown (steel guitar), Ocean Kaowili ('ukulele), Keli'ikai Paleka (guitar), Sean Mullaney (upright bass).

3rd place: The Kaiaulu Serenaders
Keokina Kane ('ukulele), Kapili Littlejohn (guitar), Robert Reed (upright bass).

4th place: Coyne Street
Les Loo ('ukulele), Mel Chang (slack key/guitar), Dean Conching (upright bass).

5th place: Kolonahe
Greg Kono ('ukulele), Grant Kaimana Kono (upright bass).

6th place: Hale O Keawe
Steve Keawe (guitar), Ku'ulei, Keawe ('ukulele), Ka'ehu Keawe (guitar), Ka'ena Keawe (upright bass).

7th place: Kaleimakali'i
Steve Maii (bass, guitar), Kai Maii (guitar, 'ukulele), Preem Brosio ('ukulele).

View photos of Ka Himeni 'Ana 2011...


Ka Himeni 'Ana 2011 Contestants

Contestants Unveiled for 2011 Ka Himeni 'Ana Presented by Richard M. Towill and The Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame

HONOLULU, HI (August 18, 2011) — Ka Himeni 'Ana, Hawaiian music competition that perpetuates Hawaiian culture through traditional singing and music-making, is proud to announce this year's contestants. The seven groups competing are Kolonahe, Kaleimakali'i, Coyne Street, Hale O Keawe, Sons of Kapalama, Mokoli'i, and The Kaiaulu Serenaders.

Founded by Richard M. Towill in 1983, this year's Hawaiian music competition takes place at the Hawai'i Theatre on Saturday, August 27 at 7:00 p.m. The goals of this competition are presenting undiscovered talent and sponsoring the stars of tomorrow. Remember the times when people just sat in a circle singing songs and jamming on the 'ukulele' In this amplified generation, those days are lost. Towill hopes to bring back the old days with the older nahenahe style of sweet and soothing music.

Contestants sing in the Hawaiian language, thereby conveying Hawai'i's history and preserving a part of Hawai'i's past. "It's about not losing the music we came from," says founder Richard M. Towill.

Performers will be evaluated on their musicality, including pitch, harmony, pronunciation, diction, projection, expression, appearance, manner, charm, and adherence to the composer's arrangements. Songs composed by the performers themselves or created prior to 1945 will be sung in the Hawaiian language and in the nahenahe style, which features a soft and gentle voice.

This year's competition will feature undiscovered and extremely talented groups. Witness the sweet, vocal harmonies accompanied by the sounds of beautiful and lulling unamplified instruments, which create, what many say, is the purest form of music in this year's Ka Himeni 'Ana music competition.


This father-son duo showcases the abilities of Greg Kono on the 'ukulele and Kaimana Kono on the upright bass. Music is a family affair and this duo says Hawaiian music has been flowing from their fingertips and exploding from their hearts ever since they could remember. Performing at various events in California, this father-son group has also showcased their talents at the West O'ahu Family Festival at Kapolei. Each supports the other in his journey into Hawai'i's history. The Konos show their love and dedication to Hawaiian music by playing after dinner each night.

Coyne Street:
group's name was adopted from the location of the residence where they rehearse in Moiliili. Being members of the Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus, the group has its roots in tailgate parties that took place after opera rehearsals and performances. One night while jamming and having fun with other singers and hula dancers, the trio was asked to play at a baby's 1st Birthday party. With a quick trip to Don Quixote for $10 matching shirts, presto, a new group was born!

The trio consists of Dr. Melvin Chang on slack key guitar, Les Loo on ukulele and Dean Conching on standup bass. Chang is an Internal Medicine physician with the Department of Health and he studied for years with Ozzie Kotani, his slack-key guitar mentor. Loo is the nephew of piano virtuoso Betty Loo Taylor and he moved back to Hawaii after 30 years of performing popular music and opera in Orlando, Florida. He grew up listening to his parents performing Hawaiian music wherever they were stationed during their military life. Conching is a TSA airport screener, who has enjoyed playing and singing Hawaiian music for most of his adult life. Besides the HOT chorus he enjoys singing with the Kamehameha Men's Alumni Glee Club.

Street's focus is to recapture the feel of old Waikiki with songs like "Beyond the Reef," while also incorporating non-Hawaiian songs from the 60's & 70's, with songs like "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Travelin' Man." The group's ultimate goal is to travel and share the Aloha spirit through their music with other countries and cultures around the world.

The group Kaleimakali'i, whose name is a family name originating from Kipahulu, Maui, has not been together very long. The trio of musicians includes Steve Mai`i on guitar and bass, Mai`on guitar and Preem Brosio on guitar and '. These music veterans say it's fun to play music, but more importantly to continue perpetuating some of the Hawaiian songs they have come to love.

Hale O Keawe:
Hale O Keawe, meaning house of Keawe, is a family of four comprised of husband Steve on guitar, wife Ku'ulei on ukulele and their children, son Ka'ehu (13) on upright bass and 11-year-old daughter Ka'ena on guitar. The Keawe 'Ohana is very proud of their Hawaiian roots and have been playing music together for about a year. The two keiki, Ka'ehu and Ka'ena learned to play the upright bass, guitar, and the ukulele last summer from their father. Playing music allows them to do something together as a family. It has instilled pride in their culture and language.

Sons of Kapalama:
These sons of Kamehameha Kapalama school, class of 1979, wish to keep traditional Hawaiian music alive. Ocean Kaowili on ', Pomaika'i Brown on the steel guitar, Keli'ikai Paleka on the guitar, and Sean Mullaney on the upright bass comprise the group. Playing together since high school, they performed mostly at family parties, lu'aus, and other local gatherings. Growing up, the Sons of Kapalama have noticed the change in Hawaiian music just as Richard Towill has. Their goal is to create music similar to the songs they heard growing up, so the Sons of Kapalama practice the blending of instruments and voices in simple Hawaiian music.

This group of friends with the common love for Hawaiian music features the artistry of Isaac Akuna on the 'ukulele, Alika Souza on the guitar, Eddie Palama on the steel guitar, and Nathaniel Stillman on bass. All the members have performed together in a configuration, whether it was a duo, trio, or group prior to the formation of Mokoli'i. The name of the group is derived from Mokoli'i, also known, as "Chinaman's Hat." This scenery was the sight that member Isaac Akuna saw every morning growing up. It gave him a beautiful, peaceful feeling. Mokoli'i hopes to instill that same feeling in its audience.

The Kaiaulu Serenaders:
The Kaiaulu Serenaders is comprised of Keokina Kane on ukulele, Kapili Littlejohn on guitar, and Robert Reed on bass. Each member has a strong and extensive musical history. They have each had their fair share of dabbling in the art of Hawaiian music. These gentlemen come together as the Kaiaulu Serenaders.

Listening to music without microphones or amplified instruments and sung in the Hawaiian language, audiences will be captivated and experience a journey into an earlier time of Hawai'i. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds at Ka Himeni 'Ana on August 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the historic Hawai'i Theatre, presented by the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. Tickets are on sale now at the Hawai'i Theatre box office, open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. Ð 5:00 p.m. Balcony seats are available for $23 and orchestra/loge seating is $33. (Includes $3 dollar theater restoration fee) For more ticket information, please call the Hawai'i Theatre box office at 528-0506, or go online at www.hawaiitheatre.com. For more information on the event, please visit www.hmhof.org.

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