Kani Ka Pila Grille names five finalists in its 7th annual talent search
WAIKIKI, HONOLULU, OAHU – The results are in and five of the island’s rising musical stars have been named finalists in this year’s Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search. They are: The Waimanalo Sunset Band, Wai Olu, Destiny Mahaulu, Hawaiian Country, and Hawa‘iki. The final five groups will put their musical talents to the test on Saturday, August 22, 2015, at the Made in Hawaii Festival where the Kani Ka Pilla Grille Talent Search winner will be announced
“Outrigger has been a long supporter of perpetuating Hawaii’s musical and cultural heritage, and this year’s Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search is sure to be an amazing display of the fresh musical talent we have here in the islands,” said Luana Maitland, ambassador of aloha for the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort and music director at Kani Ka Pila Grille. “It’s one of our favorite events of the year because it truly exemplifies ‘kani ka pila,’ which means to make music.”
This year’s Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search finals night will showcase both traditional and contemporary musicians with varying years of experience who entered the talent search by submitting a music sample on DVD or link to an online performance. The lineup includes:
The Waimanalo Sunset Band
Comprised of Kelii Makua, Chris “Baba” Yim, Lanakila Makua, Manuwai Mejia, Keao Kamalani, the band came to life in 2001 when originating members Lanakila Makua, Keli‘i Makua, and Keao Kamalani regularly held ‘jam sessions’ in the backyard of the Makua ohana home in Waimanalo where melodies began to flow and the music began to blend.
With a strong belief in Hawaiian traditions and culture, Wai Olu came together eight years ago to carry on the torch of its ancestors and perpetuate the legacy of the Hawaiian people through music. Band members include lead slack key guitarist David Kaio, lead vocalist Keoki I, and rhythm guitarist Clayton Kaneshiro.
A student of the Institute of Hawaiian music on Maui, Destiny was raised by her kupuna and learned to love Hawaiian music, Hawaiian studies, and playing the ukulele. With her ancestors behind her, she strives to continue strong and carry on family traditions.
Dennis Kauwe and brothers Joe and Fred Yuen formed Hawaiian Country while studying at the University of Hawaii in the 90s, occasionally playing at jam sessions at the UH Campus Center. Hawaiians from the countryside of Waianae and Haleiwa, the band currently plays for family and friends’ events.
Gordan Alfapada, Hiilani Ho, Gordan Freitas and Eric Wahilani make up the foursome of Hawaiki. While the group performs “all kine” music, their love for traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music is where it all began. The group can often be found playing music at parties, community events and neighborhood clubs.
The finalists will take the stage on Saturday, August 22, 2015, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Neal Blaisdell Center’s Pikake Room during the Made in Hawaii Festival. In front of friends, families and fans, each group will showcase their diverse musical talents in the hopes of securing the grand prize of a one-month paid contract to perform weekly during the month of September at Kani Ka Pila Grille, located poolside at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. The prize also includes complimentary studio sessions at Honolulu Community College’s Mike Curb MELE Studios. Last year’s Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search winner, Kaiao, will also be at the Neal Blaisdell Center to kick off the afternoon’s musical activities with a performance from 3 to 3:30 p.m., followed by an autograph session.
This year’s distinguished panel of judges includes:
- Cyril Pahinui, three time Grammy-winner and Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning slack key guitar master
- Kawika Kahiapo, Grammy- and Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning slack key guitar master
- John Vierra, program coordinator for the MELE program at Honolulu Community College
- Luana Maitland, music director for Kani Ka Pila Grille and events and activities manager for Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
For more information about this year’s Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search, visit www.outrigger.com/kkpgtalentsearch.
Every night of the week from 6 to 9 p.m., some of the islands’ most notable Hawaiian musicians take the stage at Kani Ka Pila Grille. Headliners include Cyril Pahinui, Weldon Kekauoha, Kawika Kahiapo, Sean Naauao, Hookena, Ka Hehena and a revolving selection of other award-winning island artists. Located poolside at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Kani Ka Pila Grille is open daily for dining from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservation or restaurant information, call (808) 924-4990.