2013 Hoku Awards preliminary ballots issued

Mar. 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

2012 Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Starr Kalahiki performs during last year's televised awards show. (Star-Advertiser File)

BY JOHN BERGER / jberger@staradvertiser.com

The ballots have been mailed and members of the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) are voting for the artists and recordings that will be finalists for the 2013 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

HARA members have until Friday, March 22, to select a maximum of five finalists in each of 26 categories. Finalists will be announced in early April and HARA members will then vote a second time to select winners. The winners will be announced at the 2013 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards show on Saturday, May 25, at the Hawai‘i Convention Center’s Kalakaua Ballroom.

The Hoku Awards were created in 1977 to recognize excellence within the Hawaii recording community. In recent years the eligibility requirements have been changed to allow non-residents and recordings made and released outside Hawaii to compete in many of the award categories.

The result is a lengthy preliminary ballot that includes 50 preliminary contenders for Group of the Year, 112 preliminary contenders for Album of the Year, and 108 preliminary contenders for Favorite Entertainer — the one category where the eventual winner is determined by votes of the general public.

Despite its length, the vast majority of releases on the current ballot are DIY projects with little visibility outside the artist’s immediate circle of family members and friends. When the smoke clears next month, the finalists in the major categories will almost certainly be the major artists hailing from big time labels. Expect to see names like Manu Boyd, Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom, Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Ho‘okena, Weldon Kekauoha, Kuana Torres Kahele and Na Palapalai on the final ballots when they are issued.

The big news this year is the introduction of additional categories. HARA responded quickly to complaints from Hawaii’s hip-hop artists in 2011 and created separate genre categories for Hip-Hop and R&B. Hawaii’s hip-hop community is represented with a healthy slate of 11 albums on this year’s preliminary ballot, while the R&B category is dormant.

For 2013, new categories have been activated for Alternative Album (now distinct and separate from Rock), Ukulele Album (distinct and separate from Instrumental) and Instrumental Composition, a composer’s award distinct from the existing Song of the Year award.

See the complete preliminary ballot below. For more information on the Hoku Awards, visit www.nahokuhanohano.org.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at jberger@staradvertiser.com.

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