27th Annual 'Ka Himeni Ana' Hawaiian Music Competition
By Caroline Wright
Photo courtesy of KaHimeniAna808
Islands for a while, you've probably never been lucky enough to experience a real island jam session.
Unless you have lived in the Hawaiian
Picture a backyard jam in Hawaii, a bright moon illuminating a grove of palms and a circle of musicians. As they deftly play old melodies on ukuleles and guitars and upright basses, the musicians' voices rise in lilting harmony. Hawaiians might say that the music is nahenahe—as sweet and gentle as a summer trade wind.
In 1983, island music advocate Richard M. Towill launched the "Ka Himeni Ana" Hawaiian Music Competition to celebrate and perpetuate the nahenahe style of Hawaiian music. Now in its 27th year, the competition will take place on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 at Hawaii Theatre, the lovely, historic Chinatown venue. Though performers compete on a stage in front of a large audience, the "backyard jam" atmosphere is preserved through the music. Instruments are played without any amplification, and songs are sung without microphones.
Applications and audition recordings are submitted to the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, which selects the finalists who will perform at the Hawaii Theatre. The concert will feature performances by approximately ten pre-qualifying amateur Hawaiian music groups, who are judged on the quality of their vocal harmony, use of Hawaiian language, and overall musicianship. Competing groups must perform material written before 1945, or newer songs in the sweet, soft nahenahe style. Winning acts receive a variety of awards, including cash prizes that range from $200 to $1,200.
This serious competition has helped launched the careers of many Hawaiian musical acts, including Holunape, Hookena, Paie, Kanilau, Alea, and Pilioha; well-known artists such as Del Beazley and Kuuipo Kumukahi have performed with competing bands. For more information about the event, including entry information for those who wish to submit audition recordings for next year's competition, please visit the contest's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KaHimeniAna).
27th Annual "Ka Himeni Ana"
Ka Himeni Ana: http://www.kitv.com/
2010 Commercial: http://youtu.be/0fXb__6-kpE
Winners, 1994: http://youtu.be/ivSWcUzuWvo
Winners, 2009: http://youtu.be/is_9P7KK9R8
Winners, 2010: http://youtu.be/Lf2u7XrBltg
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