Which of These 10 Hawaiian Music Stars Will Win Na Hoku Entertainer Award?

In just two weeks, the 2023 Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners will be announced at the Hawaii Theater in Honolulu. But we already know there are ten winners, the finalists for the Entertainer of The Year coveted award. The public chooses the award winner, and votes are being tabulated now. You can watch the ceremony live on July 1 at 7 pm (HST) on the Hawaii News Now digital platform. While we wait for the announcement, we put together these videos of the finalists and their exceptional talent.

History of Hawaiian music and its influence.

Before European contact in Hawaii, music was passed down orally in chants and mele (songs) with backup instruments like pahu (drum) and ‘uli’uli (gourd rattle). In the 19th century, the missionaries and explorers introduced instruments like the guitar, ‘ukulele, and piano to Hawaii. That led to the development of “hapa haole” music with Hawaiian lyrics and Western melodies. In the early 20th century, Hawaiian music started to get noticed on the mainland and could be heard sometimes in Hollywood movies. Beginning in the 1970s, everything changed with the Hawaiian Renaissance. This included the Hawaiian language heard in songs along with chants. Today the style is a mix of traditional and contemporary elements.

The annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards started in 1978.

It was first held at Hilton Hawaiian Village and then at larger venues like the Blaisdell Concert Hall. It’s become the most prestigious event in the Hawaiian music industry and preserves and celebrates the musical traditions of the islands. As you watch the artists below, you’ll listen to some of the best Hawaiian music today.

Na Hoku Honolulu Entertainer Of The Year finalists for 2023.

1. Kalae Camarillo – Child Of These Islands

Kala’e Camarillo, a local singer/songwriter from Maui and based in Honolulu, Hawaii. He’s a third-generation music teacher/entertainer.

2. Chardonnay – Sweet Island Music

Chardonnay is a vocalist and songwriter with a pop-reggae vibe. She’s a native Hawaiian who starting writing music in her teens and has been a star performer and award-winner.

3. Crossing Rain – “Come Back 2.0” (acoustic version)

Crosssing rain is a pop group whose goal is “Providing Hope, Inspiration and Aloha through our Music.”

4. Jeremiah Kaholoaa – Better Days.

We don’t have Jeremiah’s bio, although we know he went to Molokai High School. If you have it, please let us know in comments. Thanks.

5. Natalie Ai Kamauu – Waimea I Ka La`I

Natalie is a passionate life-long musician. She is from Kaneohe, Oahu and comes from a musical family.

6. Kamehameha Schools children’s chorus – “We Have a Kuleana.”

Extremely talented 100 member chorus from the Kapālama Campus (Oahu) elementary consisting of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. They are from 9 to 12 years old

7. Kenny Tagavilla – Cruisin

Kenny Tagavilla is a heartfelt Hawaii musician with a worldwide following.

8. Taimane – “Carmen” on ukulele.

Taimane is a Honolulu-born Hawaii ukulele virtuoso known for innovation and performanes blending roxk, classical, and flamenco styles with traditional Hawaiian music.

9. Wehilei – Cruisen.

Wehilei brings a beautiful new voice to Hawaiian music. She blends reggae among other styles with her traditional Hawaii music background.

10. Zeo Worship – O Praise The Name.

The group says that Zeo has the meaning of boiling over such in the sense of water boiling. They are a worship band that sings modern religious songs in Hawaiian.

If you had to pick one artist, who would it be?

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4 thoughts on “Which of These 10 Hawaiian Music Stars Will Win Na Hoku Entertainer Award?”

  1. Thank you so much for bringing clips of these finalist to BOH. I miss live Hawaiian music so much. It would be very difficult to pick a favorite. Each artist or group has so much to offer in their own style. There is so much musical talent in HI. I have heard Natalie before and she’s just captivating. Someone once asked me how can I appreciate Hawaiian music when I can’t understand the words? Easy. The music comes from the heart,the soul, the culture and pride of the Hawaiian people. It all comes shinning thru. So much of the music reflects the beauty of the islands, nature, the sea and love of ohana. So no, it makes no difference that I don’t speak Hawaiian. The beautiful melodies and love within speak for themselves.

    1. Hi Jan.

      Thanks. Glad you enjoyed. We did too, putting it together. A very nice musical experience.


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