May 20, 2017 marks the 40th annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards — the biggest awards ceremony in Hawaii and sometimes referred or compared to the Grammys — taking place in Honolulu at the Hawaii Convention Center. Up until my collaboration with Strut Records on the Aloha Got Soul: Soul, AOR & Disco in Hawaii compilation, I didn't feel like any of the label's releases fit into the Na Hoku's categories. There isn't really any place for reissues to go on their nomination ballot. Most of the awards are for new music, and since the label's focus has been (up until now, at least) rediscovering rare and relatively unknown music of Hawaii, I didn't have a desire to go after the handful of categories that would fit what I've been releasing. As I began compiling tracks for the project in early 2015, however, the 'Anthology of the Year' category stood out in my mind. And considering how much time went into the liner notes for the release, I also contemplated the "Liner Notes of the Year" award. Winning any award has not been my goal. The hope for every project I work on is that I'm able to create a lasting document of timeless music that reaches a new crop of listeners in Hawaii and the world. The reason I try to include liner notes with each release — even if it's a short quote from the artist on the back of a 7-inch jacket — is that, for me, the story is as important as the music. An artist's story gives another layer of context to their music. For a place like Hawaii, so isolated from the rest of the world, this context is valuable in creating an exchange of knowledge and ideas between the people of these islands and those listening from distant destinations.
Roger Bong and Oliver Seguin at The Surfjack in April 2016.I'm happy to have been nominated twice this year in the Na Hoku awards. For anyone reading who is curious about how to apply for a nomination, it's pretty straightforward. Here's a background of the awards ceremony from their website: The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards trace their origins to 1978 and KCCN-AM Radio, then the world’s only all-Hawaiian music radio station. Conceived as a radio station promotion by Krash Kealoha (Victor ‘Ōpiopio), legendary deejay, program director and driving creative force behind KCCN-AM, in Nā Hōkū Hanohano (The Stars of Distinction), Kealoha envisioned a formal recognition and celebration of recorded musical excellence in Hawai‘i — so long ignored by mainland awards programs. Kealoha — with the support of KCCN owner Sydney Grayson and Kealoha’s original deejay team including Kimo Kaho‘āno and Jacqueline “Skylark” Rossetti — launched the first Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards presentation in 1978. As no organized “academy of artists” yet existed among Hawaii’s musicians — the role HARA would come to play — the earliest awards were determined by public vote. By 1982, Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards evolved into an industry awards ceremony administered by recording professionals. The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts was patterned after the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (also referred to as NARAS or the Recording Academy), which produces the Grammy Awards. Each year the Hawai‘i Academy produces a live television broadcast of the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards honoring the achievements of excellence in the recording arts. It has become the biggest annual entertainment event in Hawai‘i. Commercially available recordings created, produced, and/or engineered and primarily distributed in Hawai‘i are accepted for nomination. This year's awards ceremony will be streaming live online on KFVE's website, as televised live on KFVE-TV in Hawaii. Purchase the CD or double LP online: