While the band Keauhou won big for its debut album, artists with Maui County ties also shone — taking home awards in major categories and making a bit of history at the 40th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards ceremony Saturday night [May 20, 2017] on Oahu.
Kahumoku, a multiple Na Hoku and Grammy award winner, agreed that a new generation is taking the stage and that it’s “harder to win now because I’m from the old generation.” Nevertheless, the longtime Maui musician won another Na Hoku on Saturday — this time in the Christmas Album of the Year category for his 11-track release “Maui Slack Key Christmas.” He called the album a “fun, kind of off-the-cuff” project.
“We were certainly honored that we won anything at all,” Kahumoku said. “The Christmas album was pretty solid. I’m glad that my wife got me out of the taro patch pulling weeds to create this album.”
He said he spent much more time on “Kahumoku — Priest of the Land,” which was nominated for Slack Key Album of the Year. Kahumoku said that the difference he sees between his generation and the next is that newer artists have “more access to their audience.”
“For us, our audience was we had to play music and be there. That’s how we made contact with our audience,” he said. “These guys, they have social media. . . . Everything’s a lot more instant. I think that’s an advantage with technology.”
But, some things won’t change.
“It still has to be good music,” Kahumoku said. “You still have to make a connection with your audience.”