Five Hawaiian Music Groups Move on in Kani Ka Pila Talent Search
Who will be the next Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search star? The answer to that question will be answered in less than a month when the five finalists take the stage on Saturday, August 17, at the Made in Hawaii Festival. And who are the finalists? Congratulations to Erni Kainoa & the Nahenahe Serenaders, `Ili Moa, Kaiholu, Coyne Street, and Na Pali Trio for making it to the final round.
"We're so excited with the line-up of finalists for this year's Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search," Luana Maitland, ambassador of aloha and music director at Kani Ka Pila Grille. "Hawaii is blessed to have such a wealth of talented people and it's exciting for all of us at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach and Kani Ka Pila Grille to provide this annual opportunity to 'discover' the next stars of island music and to support and help them grow in their musical careers."
This year's Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search finalists are traditional and contemporary musicians with varying years of experience who entered the talent search by submitting a music sample on DVD or link to an online performance. They are:
Erni Kainoa & the Nahenahe Serenaders
Uncle Erni has been singing falsetto and playing Hawaiian music for the past 50 years. Together with friends Alika Odom and Hovey Lambert, they are resuming their love of playing Hawaiian music.
No`eau Kalima is cousin to brothers Kala`e and Kamaka Camarillo. This trio started playing together in high school. College took them in different directions but they've come back together and now play for family gatherings and parties.
Al Rowland, Meahealani Stillman, Trax Enos and Hanalei Kaanapu make up the group Kaiholu. They've been together for over five years and are already award-winning musicians, having won Ka Himeni Ana in 2009. They look forward to playing together for a long time to come.
This group is making an 'encore' in the Kani Ka Pila Grille talent search finals. They were top contenders at last year's competition and are hoping to come out on top this time around Dean Conching, Les Loo and Mel Chang took their group name from the street where they regularly got together to jam or rehearse for parties. All are members of the Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus.
Na Pali Trio
Two brothers and a friend come together as the Na Pali Trio. For Ikaika Leoiki, his love of music and performing came at a young age as a member of the Honolulu Boy Choir. Along with brother Kaniala Leoiki and good friend Albert Makanani, Ikaika continues to be influenced by his Papa David, the Makaha Sons, Na Palapalai and Na Hoa.
The talent search grand finale will take place on Saturday, August 17, at the Neal Blaisdell Center's Pikake Room during the Made in Hawaii Festival. The pre-show will begin at 3pm with renowned artist Weldon Kekauoha taking the stage. Next up will be 2012 Kani Ka Pila Talent Search winner Kamakakehau Fernandez. The formal competition will begin at 4:30 p.m. when each group will perform in front of friends, families and fans in the hopes of securing the grand prize: a one-month paid contract to perform Thursday evenings at Kani Ka Pila Grille during the month of September (Sept 5, 12, 19, 26, 2013). The prize also includes complimentary studio time at Honolulu Community College's Mike Curb MELE Studios.
Judging this year's program will be:
- Cyril Pahinui, Grammy-nominated slack key guitar master
- Jason Genegabus, entertainment and online editor at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and HonoluluPulse.com
- Keala Chock, program coordinator for MELE at Honolulu Community College
- Duncan Osorio, singer/songwriter
- Luana Maitland, ambassador of aloha and music director at Kani Ka Pila Grille
Kani Ka Pila Grille is a casual restaurant that offers delicious island-fusion dishes in a relaxed and open dining atmosphere. The fun begins each evening at 6 p.m. with live musical entertainment that includes a regular line-up of legendary Hawaiian artists such as Cyril Pahinui, Kawika Kahiapo, Weldon Kekauoha and Sean Naauao, as well as other luminaries that have included Waipuna, Amy Hanaialii, Kuana Kahele-Torres, Kupaoa, Mark Yamanaka, Brother Noland, Jeff Rasmussen, Nathan Aweau, and Na Hoa, to name a few. Kani Ka Pila Grille is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservation or restaurant information, call (808) 924-4990.