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The Waimanalo Sunset Band named 7th Annual Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search winner


Luana Maitland and Billy V with The Waimanalo Sunset Band
Luana Maitland and Billy V with The Waimanalo Sunset Band

WAIKIKI, HONOLULU, OAHU – The judges have spoken and The Waimanalo Sunset Band has been named this year’s Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search winner. Five finalists were initially selected based on a sample music performance submitted by DVD or link to an online performance, and later evaluated by their final performances on Saturday, August 22, 2015, at the Made in Hawaii Festival. The Waimanalo Sunset Band receives a one-month paid contract to perform weekly this September at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort’s Kani Ka Pila Grille. Additionally, the talented group will receive complimentary studio sessions at Honolulu Community College’s Mike Curb MELE Studio.

“The Waimanalo Sunset Band’s traditional Hawaiian mele and incredible stage presence impressed the judges and wowed this year’s crowd,” said Luana Maitland, ambassador of aloha for the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort and music director at Kani Ka Pila Grille. “We know that our guests will love them come September and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this talented group.”

The Waimanalo Sunset Band will perform at Kani Ka Pila Grille every Thursday night throughout the month of September. Additionally, the four remaining finalists from the talent search will perform for one Thursday night each during the month of October at Kani Ka Pila Grille. All performances are from 6 to 9 p.m. with the schedule as follows:

  • The Waimanalo Sunset Band : September 3, 10, 17, 24, October 29
  • Hawa`iki: October 1
  • Wai Olu: October 8
  • Hawaiian Country: October 15
  • Destiny Mahaulu : October 22

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, Kelii 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.

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.

For more information about this year’s Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search, visit

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.