Kahulanui Celebrates Jazz Album of the Year Win

May 23, 2018, 9:49 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 3:57 PM
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PC: Kahulanui

The 2018 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for “Jazz Album of the Year” was presented to the Big Island’s “Kings of Hawaiian Swing” group Kahulanui on Friday, May 19, 2018for Mele Ho‘oilina, produced by Kahulanui LLC and Michael Surprenant of Mana Music Studio.

Kahulanui also earned the “Instrumental Composition of the Year” award for Kahulanui Boogie Woogie, composed by Bill Noble, who performs with the group.

The Mele Ho‘oilina album was inspired by all the forerunners of the Hawaiian Swing genre, including the grandfather of band leader Lena Naipo.

Naipo said it was a great thrill for his father, who was also in attendance at the awards ceremony, which was held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

This was a big win for the group as they continue to perpetuate the blending of genres and cultures in Hawaiian music.


“Kahulanui is grateful for all of the musician brothers and sisters who helped to make this latest album a Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner!” the group announced. “Especially, to Michael Surprenant, Sarah Bethany, Joshua Timmons, Mike Lewis, Brian Christ, Andrea Lindborg and Loren Frank Wilken. Mahalo nui loa to Dave Pierce for making such an amazing contribution to Hawaiian music with his arrangement of Ka Ua Loku. And, all of the musicians who have helped Kahulanui along the way: Garry Russell, Duncan Bamsey, Frank Musacchio, Eldred Ahlo, Payton Meyer and Jenny Brown. Mahalo Jody and Charles Brotman for getting us off the ground and for your continued support!”


Kahulanui was also nominated for two other categories: “Group of the Year” and “Graphics” by Scarlet Eskildsen—both coveted and esteemed awards.

Kahulanui is:


Originator Rodgers Lena Naipo on lead vocals and guitar, Patrick Eskildsen on bass guitar and vocals, Robert Duke Tatom on ukulele and vocals, Tim Taylor on drums/percussion, and Dwight Tokumoto on steel guitar.


Horn section: Primary horn arranger Jesse Snyder on clarinet and tenor sax, Bill Noble on alto saxophone, Joshua Timmons on trumpet, and Vincent D’Angelo on trombone. Eldred Ahlo on trumpet for Hoku performance.

Kahulanui is on tour this summer. Look for complete schedule at

Bill Noble. PC: Kahulanui

Dwight Tokumoto. PC: Kahulanui

Jesse Duke. PC: Kahulanui

Lena Naipo. PC: Kahulanui

Patrick Eskildsen.  PC: Kahulanui

Joshua Timmons. PC: Kahulanui


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