Maui Arts & Entertainment

Richard Ho‘opi‘i Falsetto Contest Winners Selected

September 8, 2015, 9:00 AM HST
* Updated September 9, 10:22 AM
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Photo credit: Troy Hashimoto.

(Left to right, top row) Mistress of Ceremonies Alaka‘i Paleka, James Koakane Mattos, Kamalei Kawa‘a, Ka‘ena Elaban, Ricky Sanchez, Nathan Kuhio‘okalani Evans, Walter Kalani Librando-Souza, Kahi Young. (bottom row) Coordinator Daryl Fujiwara, Judges Ata Damasco, Kalani Pe‘a, Kamaka Kukona, Ku‘ulei Alcomindras Palakiko and Kiope Raymond. Photo credit: Troy Hashimoto.

By Maui Now Staff

Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style and the Grand Wailea hosted the 14th annual Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Ki‘eki‘e Falsetto Contest on Saturday, Sept. 5, for a sold-out crowd of Hawaiian music enthusiasts.

The amateur male falsetto contest named after Maui music legend Ho’opi’i highlights a tradition passed through generations of ‘ohana.

KPOA’s Alaka’i Paleka served as mistress of ceremonies. The pule was performed by Grand Wailea Cultural Advisor Kainoa Horcajo.

The evening’s entertainment began with Hula Halau Ho‘okamaha‘o from San Antonio, Texas, under the directions of Kaipo Kalua, topped off with special performances by Ho‘opi‘i and his ‘ohana and 2014 champion Grant Kono of Honolulu, before the falsetto contest began.


Kamalei Kawa‘a received the Hawaiian language award. Photo credit: Troy Hashimoto.


Contestants were judged on their voice and music, including vocal quality, technique, asthetics, musicianship; Hawaiian language pronunciation; overall presentation, including grooming, stage presence, posture and communication.


Music judges were Ata Damasco and Kamaka Kukona; Hawaiian languages judges were Ku‘ulei Alcomindras-Palakiko and Kalani Pe‘a; the head judge was Kiope Raymond.

The contestants included Ricky Sanchez of Laāna‘i, Ka‘ena Elaban of Pukalani, Walter Kalani Librando-Souza of Maui, Kahi Young from Hawai‘i island, James Koakane Mattos of Maui, Nathan Evans of Keaukaha and Kamalei Kawa‘a of Waihe‘e.


First place went to Kawa‘a, who sang Pua Ahihi.

Second place went to Evans, with his performance of Puna Ku’u Aloha.

Third place went to Young, who performed Kau Oha Mai or the Key Hole Hula.

Kawa‘a received the Hawaiian language award, which included a one-night stay with $200 in dining privileges at the Grand Wailea.

Festivals of Aloha Announces Event Schedule


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