Hoku Zuttermeister’s “ ‘Aina Kupuna” leads nominees.
Newcomers dominate nominees for this year's Hoku awards
Traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music dominate the major categories once again, there's some backstage controversy brewing and two first-time nominees are this year's front-runners in the 31st annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
31st Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards
» On stage: June 17
» Place: Hawai'i Convention Center
» Tickets: $125 to $200, includes dinner
» Call: 593-9424
Hoku Zuttermeister and his debut album, "'Aina Kupuna," lead the field with eight nominations, while Napua Greig and her debut, "Pihana," have seven.
Zuttermeister's nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year is matched by Greig's nomination for Female Vocalist. The two are going head to head for Most Promising Artist, Hawaiian Album of the Year and Album of the Year.
Veteran producer/engineer Dave Tucciarone is competing against himself in two categories. He produced three of the finalists for Album of the Year and two of the five finalists in Engineering.
Members of the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts are voting for winners in 20 categories. A panel of Hawaiian music and language experts determines the both the finalists and the winners in two categories that honor excellence in writing and recording Hawaiian-language songs. The winner of Favorite Entertainer of the Year is determined by public vote at Borders stores in Hawaii.
This year's controversy stems from the decision of the HARA Board of Governors to define "The Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Presents -- Na Lani 'Eha," an album recorded by board member Ku'uipo Kumukahi and the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders, as the work of a female vocalist rather than a group because the other members of the quartet play instruments and sing backing vocals.
The decision means that Kumukahi can become a three-time winner for Female Vocalist (she won Female Vocalist in 1994 and 2001, and Most Promising Artist in 1993).
But with Greig, Teresa Bright, Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom and Raiatea Helm also finalists for Female Vocalist, the race could be the tightest on the ballot.
Winners will be announced June 17.