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Entries sought for 16th annual Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Ki‘eki‘e Falsetto Contest

By Staff | Aug 17, 2017

At the 2017 event, Uncle Richard Ho‘opi‘i (seated) will be joined on stage by his ‘ohana to pay tribute to his band mate and Maui treasure, the late Sheldon Brown. Participants in the 2016 contest are pictured.

KAANAPALI – The 16th annual Richard Ho’opi’i Leo Ki’eki’e Falsetto Contest is seeking contestants. The contest will be held in the Kanahele Room at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the contest begins at 6:30 p.m. The $60 admission includes a buffet dinner, festival ribbon and entertainment. For tickets and information, call (808) 280-8098.

A Maui music tradition, champions have gone on to release their own albums and carry Uncle Richard’s hopes for the continuation of Hawaiian music.

“Every island had a falsetto contest except for Maui; I was honored when the committee asked to name the contest after me. It’s my kuleana,” Uncle Richard said.

Presently, Maui is the only island with a falsetto contest. The other islands have retired their contests and have transitioned to concerts or ho’ike due to challenges like finding contestants and funding.

Ho’opi’i is one of Hawaii’s music treasures. At the 2015 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Ho’opi’i was honored with the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Best known as one half of a popular Maui duo, The Ho’opi’i Brothers, he has mastered the traditional Hawaiian art of leo ki’eki’e (falsetto).

The 2017 Festivals of Aloha Committee is seeking contestants. If you are 18 years of age and have not released a recording for sale, you are able to apply. Visit FestivalsOfAloha .com to download the application; the deadline is Sept. 1, 2017.

Contestants are judged on their vocals and music, articulation and command of the Hawaiian language, the overall presentation and other criteria.

Gregory Kahikina Maxwell Juan won the 2016 contest.

The 2017 Festivals of Aloha theme is “Aloha ka Ho’i a ka Holokahiki” – Beloved is the sailors return home. Maui is joining in the celebration of the return of Hokule’a and Hikianalia, the Polynesian voyaging canoes that sailed across Earth’s oceans.

The Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage began in 2013 with a Malama Hawaii sail around our archipelago and circled back to Polynesia after circumnavigating the globe.

They used the opportunity to study sustainability and pass the torch of navigation to the next generation of wayfinders.

For the latest information and schedule of events, go to festivalsofaloha.com.

Official Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style ribbons are $5 each and provide discounted admission to many events.

For information on purchasing a ribbon, call (808) 268-9285. Sales are cash only and help fund countywide events.

Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style is sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Maui, Tri-Isle RC&D Inc., Hasegawa General Store, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, Pulama Lana’i, Travaasa Hotel Hana, KPOA 93.5 FM, Pacific Media Group, Lana’i Heritage and Cultural Center, Moana’s Florist, Moana’s Hula Halau, Friendly Market, Misaki, Imamura Store, Rawlins Chevron, Island Refuse Inc., Monsato, Mycogen Seeds, Manae Goods & Grinds, LahainaTown Action Committee, Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club, Wailuku First Friday, Alamo Rent-A-Car, Destinations Molokai Visitor Association, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Goodfellow Brothers, Don Couch, Old Lahaina Luau and Napili Kai Beach Resort.

For overall event information, contact Maui County Coordinator Daryl Fujiwara at sfdhawaii@gmail.com.