Maui Arts & Entertainment

Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau Among 2016 Nā Hōkū Nominees

May 23, 2016, 1:42 PM HST
* Updated May 23, 4:36 PM
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Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau. Courtesy photo.

Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau. Courtesy photo.

Former Maui resident Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau is among the artists with Maui ties nominated in this weekend’s 39th Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.

Now living on Oʻahu, Ka’imi was nominated in the EP or extended play category for “ʻUkulele What?”

Although nominees in this category typically showcase traditional Hawaiian music, Kaʻimi’s EP showcases the ʻukulele in a brand new light, with an intricate and contemporary jazz playing style. “I always look for something different. Something that makes people says ‘Wow, that is so cool’,” said Ka’imi.

Alternative-influenced “G Dorian Rock” is the most unconventional ʻukulele track in the “ʻUkulele What?” album, with a combination of ʻukulele and electric guitar; However, “D What” is his favorite track on the EP. It is composed with a D6 ʻukulele made by KoAloha ʻUkulele, a unique ʻukulele with guitar-player possibilities that alters the standard tuning.

“When people hear it for the first time, they don’t know what key the song is in, which is why I called it ‘D What?’,” said Ka’imi.


This is his second nomination as he was also a finalist in 2015 with his rock/reggae band, HiRiZ, in the “Reggae Album of the Year” category.

Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau, “Ukulele What?” EP. Courtesy image.

Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau, “Ukulele What?” EP. Courtesy image.


As a young boy growing up on Maui, the ʻukulele was the very first instrument Kaʻimi would learn how to play. Since then, he has become well versed in a variety of instruments, although his roots remain in ʻukulele.

A multi-talent, Kaʻimi not only composed three out of the four songs on “ʻUkulele What?,” but also recorded, mixed and mastered all of the tracks in his home recording studio in Kahaluʻu.

Kaʻimi recently returned from a family trip to Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi. Soon, he’ll be heading to Canon City, Colorado, to perform as the opening act on both days of the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival, to be held on June 24 and 25, 2016. He also plans to release new EPs in July and August.


Kaʻimi is a singer/songwriter, musician, and audio engineer. He is also the nephew of Aunty Napua Stevens, a well-known Hawaiian entertainer, who gave Kaʻimi his name, “Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau,” which translates to “The constancy and diligent efforts by his ability to work, achieve, ponder, and do with guidance, thus forth passing his knowledge and heritage from this generation to the next.”

Ka’imi began playing ʻukulele at the age of five and got his first job at a Hālau/production company by age 14. By the time he graduated from high school he was efficient in ’ukulele, bass, guitar, piano and Tahitian percussion. Ka’imi attended Brigham Young University of Hawai’i in Lā’ie and received a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Hawaiian Studies. He also studied privately with the legendary Neva Rego on the Bel Canto style of singing.

Other Maui Highlights:

The 39th Annual event includes multiple nominations of Maui’s Lily Meola who is named as a finalist in categories that include: Female Vocalist of the Year, Most Promising Artist of the Year; and Contemporary Album of the Year for her newly released album “They Say…”

Meola was born and raised on the island of Maui. She has performed at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, as an opener for the Maui Film Festival, and has toured with Country legend Willie Nelson.

Other Maui residents or those with Maui ties on the nomination list include: Amy Hānaialiʻi; Jeff Peterson; George Kahumoku Jr.; Da Ukulele Boyz; Kaʻimi Hananoʻeau in the EP category; and the Institute of Hawaiian Music for their album Aloha ʻIa Nō ʻO Maui, produced by Keola Donaghy at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.

The complete list of nominees that will appear on the final ballot are posted HERE.

The 39th Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards will take place on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at the Kalākaua Ballroom of the Hawaiʻi Convention Center.

For tickets to the award show, visit the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards website or call (808) 593.9424.

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