A singer from Captain Cook on the Big Island captured first place in the 12th annual Richard Ho'opi'i Leo Ki'eki'e Falsetto Contest on Saturday at The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua.
Micah Alohikea Hoapili De Aguiar, 24, sang "Honaunau Paka" to capture top honors in the competition that included singers from the Big Island, Maui, Molokai and Oahu. He also took the Hawaiian language award.
De Aquiar received a $600 cash prize and a recording contract with Kealaokala Productions and other prizes including air passes with Mokulele Airlines and a hotel stay at The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua.
Micah Alohikea Hoapili De Aguiar, 24, of Captain Cook, Hawaii, sang “Honaunau Paka” to capture top honors in the 12th annual Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Ki‘eki‘e Falsetto Contest on Saturday at The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua. He won a $600 cash prize and a recording contract, among other prizes. There were seven competitors in the event that aims to find the most talented male amateur falsetto singer 18 years and older in the hopes of perpetuating the traditions of leo ki‘eki‘e.
Hunter Trevelyan Wyndham Photography
Maui's Greg Juan, who sang "Nani Kaua'i," took second, and Honolulu's Grant Kono, singing "Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua," took third. Juan received a $400 cash prize and Kono, a $300 cash prize, among other items.
The goal of the event is to find the most talented male amateur falsetto singers, 18 years and older, "in the hopes of continuing the traditions of "leo ki'eki'e," a news release about the competition said. There were seven competitors in all; the others were Kalae Arnold of Molokai and Kanoa Severson, Robert Bobby Hill and James Koakane Mattos, all of Maui.
The competition is named after Ho'opi'i, who has practiced the traditional Hawaiian art his whole life, according to George Kahumoku Jr.'s Slack Key Show Masters of Hawaiian Music website. Ho'opi'i with his brother, the late Solomon Ho'opi'i, were recipients in 1997 of the National Endowment of the Arts Folk Heritage Fellowship, America's highest honor for traditional artists.
The head judge for the contest was Kiope Raymond with language judges Ku'ulei Alcomindres-Palakiko and Luana Kawa'a and music judges Kaiolohia Funes Smith and Heli Ducaroy-Silva.
Alaka'i Paleka of KPOA 93.5FM was the emcee for the event, part of the Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style! with events on Molokai, Hana and Maui in September and October.
For more information on the festival, go to festivalsofaloha.com or visit facebook.com/FestivalsOfAloha.