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Posts Tagged ‘haku mele’

Aloha gang!

I am so excited to share the news:

Our album, MELE O HĀLAWA, has made it to the preliminary ballot for the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards!

(Note: This isn’t the final ballot. This is the BIG ballot, the preliminary one, that has hundreds of entries. Hopefully enough folks will vote for it and it will appear on final ballot. At that point, we can consider ourselves official “nominees.”)

During the first discussions we had about the documentary SONS OF HĀLAWA, we talked about the necessity and the challenge of incorporating music into the film. That can be a difficult-to-navigate area, a full-time job. I was naive. I was optimistic. I said to Matt Yamashita, the filmmaker, “Why don’t I just write songs for the film? Then you can have them and we’ll be good to go.”

It never dawned on me that writing songs might be, um… a bit challenging  Ha!  As soon as I realized what I’d said, I knew I was in for a wild ride!

Thankfully, the soundtrack for the film included music by other folks as well. Pops, an accomplished haku mele (songwriter) contributed two songs to the album. And Molokai’s own amazing musician/producer, Lono, contributed two songs. With my own two compositions, we had six original tracks and we used traditional music from Molokai to round out the album. Each song was chosen for its own special reasons, making it a deeply personal collection of heart-filled songs from Molokai.

One of the greatest things the album offers is a rare glimpse into the rich and diverse musical landscape of Molokai and Hālawa Valley. Some of these songs on the album have never really been heard outside of the valley!  It’s intense!

We recorded the tracks in marathon-style when I was on island for a week. Lono put together beautifully layered instrumental tracks. Pops and I sang our faces off in the studio. And then Lono finessed and produced the finished musical project in time for the songs to be woven into stunningly beautiful documentary, SONS OF HĀLAWA.

What started out as a soundtrack for the film has become a legacy album–a way for future generations to hear, study and (most importantly) enjoy the music of one of Hawaii’s most beautiful and remote islands.

It’s such an honor to see the album’s journey and the film’s journey, reaching audiences we never dreamed of.

And it’s a blessing to know that future audiences, future generations, will be able to witness it all, too.

If you are a HARA member, please consider voting for our “little album that could” in the following categories:

Group of the Year: Pilipo and Jason with Lonomusic

Island Music Album of the Year: MELE O HĀLAWA

Favorite Entertainer of the Year: Pilipo and Jason with Lonomusic

Album of the Year: MELE O HĀLAWA

Who would have thought that a kupuna (elder) from Molokai’s remote Hālawa Valley and a dude from New York City (along with the always-amazing Lonomusic!) would record an album together?

MELE O HĀLAWA is a dream come true.

The album is for sale online via and


Mahalo. Thank you.


Right on.


Hui!  Aloha mai!

Did you guys catch the webcast of the 2013 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards the other night?  Wow! It’s amazing to be able to sit in an apartment 5,000 miles away from the ceremony and still be able to tune in.

(Ok… I’m only a little bit jealous of those of you who actually attended the show.  Only a little bit…)

It’s no secret that I love Hawaiian music.  I value it as an art form.  I believe in its ability to heal a person from the inside out.

I love and respect the artists working so hard perpetuate this incredible musical tradition.

And when all of the year’s greatest Hawaiian artists come together for an award show, it’s unbelievably cool.

For those that don’t know what I’m talking about:

Every year, Hawai’i has its big Hawaiian music awards show, the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.

(*Note:  Please see comment from Auntie Maria below–she helped me to clarify what I was saying.  Hawai’i and her music/musicians are a diverse crowd, for sure.  And the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards celebrates that diversity.)

Produced by the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts, this beautiful event honors the best in Hawaiian music.  The cream of the crop.

(Note: In Hawaiian, Nā Hōkū means “the stars” and Hanohano means “exalted, glorious, honored, distinguished.”)

The voting members of HARA certainly had their work cut out for them this year.


With all of the jaw-dropping talent that was nominated for awards, I don’t know that I would have been able to choose a winner in every category!  I mean, the talent is STELLAR!

Categories include Album of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Graphics, Liner Notes, etc.  (Very similar to some of the award shows I grew up watching here on the mainland.)

And then… they have other categories like Haku Mele of the Year which celebrates a composition written in Hawaiian.  And Hawaiian Language Performance.  And Hawaiian Album of the Year.

I was going to post a list of the winners, but the I realized that our friends at have already done an amazing list–including links to the albums/artists that won!  It’s fantastic.  Truly.  And you can check it out by clicking HERE.

Please continue to support Hawaiian Music and Hawaiian Artists.  We are all working to share some Aloha with the world.

Right on.