Maui Arts & Entertainment

Hilo man named 20th Richard Hoʻopiʻi Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Champion

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Heua‘olu Sai-Dudoit was named champion of the 20th annual Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest for his rendition of Kalama‘ula. PC: courtesy.

Heua‘olu Sai-Dudoit of Hilo, Hawaiʻi earned the championship title at the 20th annual Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest, held at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Saturday night, Sept. 24.

The competition featured five contestants–three from Maui, one each from Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi.

  • 1st place went to Heua‘olu Sai-Dudoit from Hilo, Hawai‘i for his rendition of Kalama‘ula.
    • His 1st place prize package includes: A wood award, Big Island Candies, Raising Canes gift card, Missing Polynesia gift card, Pulelehua gift card, lei hulu by Hulunani, Leo Meyer, $600 cash from Honua Consulting, the opportunity to record a single with Haku Collective, a Kanilea ʻukulele and, an all expense trip to perform at Keauhou Shopping Center on Hawaiʻi island.
    • As the winner of the Hawaiian Language Award, Sai-Dudoi will enjoy a two night stay in a Residential Suite, with daily breakfast for two at Ulana Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua – a value of $7737;
    • As winner of the Sheldon Keahiawakea Brown Music Award for his musicality received makana and $150 cash donated by Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura.

Sai-Dudoit, an alumni of Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, earned the championship title for his rendition of Kalama‘ula, the Hawaiian language Award, presented by The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, and the Sheldon Keahawakea Brown Music Award for his musicality.

Sai-Dudoit is is currently attending the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is seeking degrees in Hawaiian Language and Business. He enjoys singing and playing music and is a contributing artist to the music innovation program – Mana Maoli. In his spare time he likes to bodysurf and play volleyball.

Heua‘olu Sai-Dudoit was named champion of the 20th annual Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest for his rendition of Kalama‘ula. PC: courtesy.
  • 2nd place was awarded to Kaliko Micah Pascua from Hanapēpē, Kauaʻi for his rendition of Pō La‘ila‘i. He took home a wood award, Big Island Candies, Raising Canes gift card and $400 cash from Honua Consulting.
  • 3rd place went to Ian Ali‘inoa Aquino from Wailuku, for singing Ka Meheu o ke Ahi Lapalapa. He received a wood award, Big Island Candies, Raising Canes gift card and $300 cash from Honua Consulting. 
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Also competing were Maui’s Krissan Kama from Wailuku who performed Keali‘i, and Via Tiumalu Jr. of Kīhei, who performed Puamana.

Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style! Is part of a 70 year tradition starting from Aloha Week, Aloha Festivals and nine years ago it evolved to a Maui County organization called Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style! The 2022 Festivals of Aloha calendar of events celebrates over 20 events throughout Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Hāna and now Wailea.

In celebration of 20 years of the Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest, Festivals of Aloha along with Haku Collective softly released a legacy project entitled “Hawaiian Falsetto Vol 1.” All proceeds go back into producing this contest. Hawaiian Falsetto Vol 1 features:

  • Green Rose Hula – Grant Kaimana Kono 2014
  • Ka Loke – Po‘okela Wood 2010
  • E Ku‘u Morning Dew – Kama‘ehu Kawa‘a 2021
  • Manu ʻŌʻō – Joshua No‘eau Kalima 2012
  • Hōnaunau Pāka – Micah Hoapili DeAguiar 2013
  • Moanike‘alaonāpuamakahikina – Pōmaika‘i Krueger 2009
  • Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua – Kason Gomes 2017
  • Pua ʻĀhihi – Kamalei Kawa‘a 2015
  • Nani Wale Ke‘anae – Ezra Kau‘i Krueger 2011
  • Mānowaiopuna – Cody Pueo Pata Judge
  • Nāwiliwili – Gregory Kahikina Juan 2016
  • Akaka Falls – Kalani Pe‘a Judge
  • ‘Ohu‘ohu Kahakuloa – Richard Ho‘opi‘i Namesake

The album was produced by Daryl Fujiwara and Wailau Ryder; was engineered by Michael Casil; and was mastered by Amy Dragon. Graphic design was provided by Smythe Fujiwara Design; and the record label is Haku Records. Guest artists include: Wailau Ryder, Ekolu Chang, Jon Ako, Iwalani Ho‘omanawanui Apo and Ikaika Blackburn.

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The official launch of the album is set for Oct. 7 and will be on all digital platforms with limited physical copies. If you are interested in purchasing a CD email [email protected]

The contest in its entirety can be viewed on the Festivals of Aloha Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FestivalsofAloha/videos/1171868633738535

This year’s judges were: head judge Cody Pueo Pata; ʻolelo judges Kuulei Alcomindras-Palakiko and Kaʻiuokalani Damas; and music judges Zachary Alaka‘i Lum and Kapulanakehau Tamure.

The purpose of this event was to provide a championship opportunity for amateur falsetto singers, as well as to provide a dynamic platform for the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiʻi’s unique falsetto traditions.

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Additionally, it is designed to honor and uphold the cultural and entertainment ideals and integrity as modeled by the late Uncle Richard Hoʻopiʻi––Hawaiian falsetto legend, member of the renowned musical duo, The Hoʻopiʻi Brothers, a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner, a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award co-recipient, a National Endowment of the Arts Folk Heritage Fellowship co-recipient, a Grammy Award co-recipient, and the founder of the Richard Hoʻopiʻi Leo Kiʻekiʻe Contest.

Past contest winners include:

  • 2022 – Heua‘olu Sai-Dudoit, Hilo, Hawai‘i
  • 2021 – Kamaehu Kawa‘i, Waiehu, Maui
  • 2020 – COVID-19 / canceled
  • 2019 – Ikaika Mendez, ʻUlupakakua, Maui
  • 2018 – Kaulike Pescaia, Kīhei, Maui
  • 2017 – Kason Gomes, Wailuku, Maui
  • 2016 – Greg Juan, Wailuku, Maui
  • 2015 – Kamalei Kawa‘a, Waiehu, Maui
  • 2014 – Grant Kono, Honolulu, Oʻahu
  • 2013 – Micah Hoapili Ku‘aimoku 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 – Pōmaika‘i Krueger, Maui, Hawai‘i
  • 2008 – Kamakani Kiaha, Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i
  • 2007 – Kapono Na‘ili‘ili, Oʻahu, Hawai‘i
  • 2006 – Kalani Benanua, Lāna‘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

Composed by Kumu Hula Cody Pueo Pata this year’s theme is “Kū i ke ʻAki” (Stand Upon the Highest Point) – is inspired by House Resolution 63 HD1 which declares 2022 to be the “Year of Limu.” ʻAkiʻaki is the first limu species chronicled in the extensive Kumulipo and it is paired with its counterpart, the seashore grass called mānienie ʻakiʻaki. Let us all “Kū i ke ʻAki (Stand Upon the Highest Point)” so that we may achieve success for the health and benefit of future generations to come.

2022 Festival Ribbons are available. Proceeds generated from sale of ribbons help to produce the events. Call or text 808-268-9285 or visit Native Intelligence, Kua‘āina or Hale Ho‘ike‘ike at the Bailey House.

For the most up to date info visit festivalsofaloha.com.

Event sponsors include: County of Maui, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, Kanilea ʻUkulele, Missing Polynesia, Pulelehua, Hulunani by Leo Meyer, Raising Cane’s, KPOA 93.5 and Pacific Media Group, Goodfellow Brothers, Inc., Honua Consulting, Papa Ola Lōkahi, Keauhou Shopping Center, Maui Health System, Old Lahaina Lūʻau, Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura and the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua.

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