Maui Arts & Entertainment

15th Richard Ho’opi’i Falsetto Contest Sept. 23

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

2015 contest winner, Kamalei Kawa‘a, of Waiehu, Maui.

2015 contest winner, Kamalei Kawa‘a, of Waiehu, Maui.

The 15th annual Richard Ho’opi’i Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest takes place on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club.

“Uncle Richard,” as he is affectionately known, is one of Hawaiʻi’s music treasures. Best known as one half of the popular Maui duo, The Hoʻopiʻi Brothers, he has mastered the traditional Hawaiian art of leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto). Thus the falsetto contest was created in order to ensure this tradition is kept alive.

At the 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, Hoʻopiʻi was honored with the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.


Contestants are judged on the following criteria:

Falsetto Legend Richard Ho‘opi‘i (left) is among the musicians in the entertainment lineup. Courtesy photo.

Falsetto Legend Richard Ho‘opi‘i (left). Courtesy photo.

• VOCALS/MUSIC – Vocal Quality (Balance, Intonation, Strength); Vocal Technique (Control, Ha‘i (up/down), Glissando., Vibrato); Vocal Aesthetics (Dynamics/Expression, Individuality, Phrasing); Musicianship (Accompanied by house musicians); Musicianship (Contestant accompanies self)
• HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE – Mele Background (Composer, moʻolelo; manaʻo/inspiration; amount and accuracy of moʻolelo Hawai‘i); Pronunciation/Enunciation (Articulation and command of the Hawaiian Language, Kahakō); Technique (Haʻi/grace note in appropriate places; comfort/ease in moʻolelo delivery)
• OVERALL PRESENTATION – Grooming; Stage presence; Posture; Communication (Accurate, Enlightening, Entertaining); Delivery; Emotion.

Legendary Richard Hoʻopiʻi will be joined on stage by last years champion Kamalei Kawaʻa of Waiehu, Maui who charmed judges with his rendition of Pua Ahihi. Kawaʻa is the lead vocalist for ʻohana band, “Nā Wai Eha.”


“We are so proud of our champions”, said long time coordinator Yuki Lei Sugimura, “Many of which have gone on to create award winning music.”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the contest begins at 6 p.m.  To reserve tickets and info email [email protected]

Past contest winners are posted below:


2015 – Kamalei Kawaʻa, Waiehu, Maui
2014 – Grant Kono, Honolulu, O‘ahu
2013 – Micah Hoapili Kuʻaimoku De Aguiar, Kona, Hawai‘i
2012 – Joshua No‘eau Kalima, Hilo, Hawai‘i
2011 – Ezra Kaui Krueger, Maui, Hawai‘i
2010 – Po‘okela Wood, Maui, Hawai‘i
2009 – Pomaika‘i Krueger, Maui, Hawai‘i
2008 – Kamakani Kiaha, Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i
2007 – Kapono Na‘ili‘ili, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i
2006 – Kalani Benanua, Lana‘i, Hawai‘i
2005 – Hiroshi Okada, Japan
2004 – Kai Ho‘opi‘i – Maui, Hawai‘i
2003 – Kamaka Fernandez, Maui, Hawai‘i
2002 – Ramzey Ho‘opi‘i, Maui, Hawai‘i

Our 2016 Festival of Aloha theme is “He Keiki Aloha, Na Mea Kanu” – Beloved children are the plants. Event organizers say, “Good farmers know that in order to grow truly healthy crops, plants must be cared for as if they are children. This reciprocal, familial kind of love is the philosophical foundation – it can fuel the soul of our people into an aloha-filled future.”

Festival Ribbons are $5 and provide discounted admission to many events. For info on purchasing a button, call (808) 268-9285. More information is availabel at the Festivals of Aloha website.

Partners for the upcoming event include:  Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, County of Maui, Tri-Isle RC&D, Inc., Hasegawa General Store, Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Pülama Lāna‘i, Travaasa Hotel Hāna, KPOA 93.5 FM, Pacific Media Group, Lāna‘i Heritage and Cultural Center, Moana’s Florist, Moana’s Hula Hālau, Friendly Market, Misaki, MKK Drug Store, Imamura Store, Rawlins Chevron, Island Refuse, Inc., Monsato, Mycogen Seeds, Hotel Moloka‘i, Lahaina Town Action Committee, Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club, Wailuku First Friday, Alamo Rent-A-Car, Destinations Moloka‘i Visitor Association, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Goodfellow Brothers, Don Couch and Old Lahaina Lū‘au


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments